Will Not Signed before death: is it valid?
My mother-in-law has recently died just 4 months after my step-father-in-law. They had re-written a will to include my son but the Will was not signed, and on clearing the house my husband and his sister have discovered a Will which was written back in 1999 which was signed which includes my nephew and niece but, because my son was not born does not include him. Please can you advise whether the signed Will will take precedence over the Will not signed? I know this might seem as though I’m being selfish but I’m just looking out for the best interests of my son.
Any help you could offer would be very gratefully received.
Many thanks in advance.
Will Not Signed – What Happens?
This is a reply based on the usual circumstances which are similar to this case. You would be shocked to find out how many people have “made” a Will, paid good money for it but just never signed it. Is YOUR Last Will signed? There are all sort of other rules about signing Wills in England and Wales which can mean they are not valid too. Back to the answer:
I am afraid an unsigned Will is waste paper, so the 1999 will stands.
That is why we recommend www.WillCustodian.co.uk Peace of Mind Service, to make sure that things like this don’t happen. (Disclaimer: it is a sister company and is not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.)
If everyone agrees, the money could be split differently, but (legally) this would need a Deed of Variation and Court approval if any the the beneficiaries (people who inherit) who will lose out are under 18. So it is a bit complicated!
Many Wills are in effect not signed as the signing process has not been carried out properly. This means they may be fully or partly invalid.
To be signed correctly, a Will should be:
a) Signed by the person whose Will it is in front of TWO independent witnesses who in their turn and in the presence of each other and the testator, then sign and add their names and addresses. It IS possible to do it slightly differently, but much better to do it in the best possible way.
b) The witnesses can be married to each other but they CANNOT inherit under the Will.
c) Witnesses who are not independently could give credibility to a future claim that the Will was made under “undue influence”.
d) Witnesses should be traceable – gentlemen of the road are not ideal!
e) Witnesses should be sober, over 18, of sound mind and NOT blind – which isn’t discrimination, it is just that they can’t see the testator or other witness sign!