Are Handwritten Wills Legally Enforceable?

Writing a Will (testament) is a daunting task for any individual, but it does not have to be. Testaments can ensure peace of mind for you and your family. It is important to understand the technicalities behind a Testament to ensure you have drafted it correctly to prevent any problems later on. However, they can be difficult to understand and draft. There are different things you might be asking yourself, such as; are handwritten Wills valid and legally enforceable?

Read our guide below explaining the criteria you must fufil when drafting a Will.

 

Table of Contents

Why are Wills Important?

Essentially, a testament is a document which outlines the distribution of your assets when you pass away. If you pass away without a testament, your assets will be distributed according to a particular formula which decides the relatives and the percentage they receive. However, this may not align with your wishes.

The important thing to remember about a Testament is that it is all about choice. It enables you with the freedom to make a decision regarding your assets and who they are distributed to. Further, it is one of the most important documents you will ever sign in your life, and that is why it is crucial to understand the technicalities behind them.

How to Make a Will?

The key step before you decide to create your will is to speak to a wills lawyer. They are great at helping you to prepare and execute your will in an objective manner. This is especially important as it can be a sensitive matter for many people.

Further if you are completely unsure of how a testament works and what to include- you have come to the right place. At Lawpath, we provide an Online Wills Kit which can help you to start drafting your Will. It provides you with a great guide for drafting your testament to ensure you have included everything that you need.

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Drafting A Valid Will

There are a number of different things you must consider in order to draft a valid testament.

They include the following:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age. However, an exception does apply if you are married. Further, in exceptional circumsances, the Supreme Court can permit a Testament for someone under the age of 18.
  • The Will must be in writing. It can be in three different forms; handwritten, printed or typed.
  • If you are writing the testament (the testator), you must sign it and it must be witnessed by two or more witnesses.
  • Finally, as the testator, you must have ‘testamentary capacity’. This means that you must:
    • Understand the legal effect of a Will
    • You have to be aware of the extent of your assets
    • You must be aware of the people who would normally be expected to benefit from your estate
    • There must not be anything impeding your ability to reach rational decisions as to who will benefit from your Testament. This includes mental illness or mental disease.

With regard to the last point on the list dealing with ‘testamentary capacity’, professional Will-makers, will address this criteria during drafting.

Conclusion

A handwritten Will is a legally enforceable document. With this knowledge in mind, if you have not already done so, it might be time to start drafting your Testament. It does not need to be a daunting task, as it can enable peace of mind for both you and your family. If you have any further questions or need support writing your testament, speak to a wills lawyer.

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