Executing your will

Execute your will - sign it in front of witnesses

Your will is not valid unless it has been completed properly. Signing a will in front of two witnesses is called "executing" the will. 

If you don't have two witnesses, if you don't follow the formalities, or if you lack testamentary capacity then your will is not valid. 

You can find out how to properly execute your will and how to protect yourself from a claim that you lacked testamentary capacity. 

Execution - the basics

A will is not legally binding until you have signed it in front of two adult witnesses. 

Your witnesses must be adults. A witness must not be blind. A witness must also have capacity. 

Do not use anyone who is a beneficiary under your will or anyone married to a beneficiary. If you do then they will not be able to inherit anything from your estate. It's best to use friends, neighbours or colleagues. 

Your witnesses must see you sign the will. They must also see each other witness the will. It's best to do this whilst you are all in the same space together. 

A well drafted will has a signature or "attestation" clause at the end of it. This will set out exactly how the will was executed and help your executors get the grant of probate with minimum fuss.

If you are blind, or if you are unable to sign your own will then your will needs a bespoke attestation clause.

The "Golden Rule"

The "Golden Rule" was set out in a case called Re: Simpson. You should follow the Golden Rule if you are poorly or on medication, if you have a dementia related diagnosis, or if you are elderly.

Importantly - you should also follow the Golden Rule if you think there is anyone who may challenge your wishes. You should do this in addition to making a Capacity Vault recording and/ or making a will with a face to face solicitor.

Click here to read more about the Golden Rule.

Execution and Capacity Vault

You should make your Capacity Vault entry on the same day as you execute your will. 

You will be asked when you have or when you intend to execute your will when you record your Capacity Vault entry. 

You will be asked about your witnesses whether or not you follow the Golden Rule.