Your will is important – keep it safe and always seek advice before making any changes
November 17, 2021
Making changes to your Will without seeking advice on how to do it properly can lead to problems. When someone dies, their relatives will usually look for a Will amongst their papers. In many cases, the Will has been carefully kept in an envelope or by the deceased’s solicitors. However, we sometimes receive Wills that someone has attempted to alter or with random staple, pin or paperclip marks in it. This can lead to the probate office rejecting the Will entirely so that your wishes can’t be carried out and it will be treated as if no Will has been left and your estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy.
In one case, the testator had made a perfectly valid Will using a form he had bought in a stationers. It was properly signed and witnessed by 2 witnesses. However, some time later, he had amended the Will to add some gifts and change the executors but, although he signed it, he didn’t get anyone to witness his signature. All his changes were invalid and only the original Will could be used.
Another testator had attached something with a staple, but the attachment was missing. He also left a copy to which he had also attached a note, however it was impossible to know if this was the same note, he had attached to the original Will so it was also deemed invalid.
If it is clear that something had been attached and removed, the whole Will could be open to question as the missing part might have been a valid amendment which may have been removed by someone who didn’t like the new terms.
Sometimes the people who find the Will see that they won’t benefit but know that they would under the intestacy rules so the Will never sees the light of day. If you’ve already tried to alter your Will yourself, ask a solicitor to check it for you.
Don’t make any changes without seeking advice on how to do it properly. And never attach anything to a Will as if it goes missing its absence would have to be explained and might render the Will invalid.
To make sure that the Will which goes to probate is the Will you made, don’t leave anything to chance. Leave the original with your solicitors who will retain it in secure storage until it is needed. Let your executors know where the Will is so that they can contact the solicitors when the time comes. And don’t worry that the solicitors might have moved or gone out of business – the Solicitors Regulation Authority makes sure that a firm’s bank of Wills is safely moved to another firm and can always be found.
For a free 15 minute consultation about making changes to your Will, making a new one, or to arrange for us to store it for you, please call Beth King on 020 8313 1300 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Read more about Wills here
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.