Formalities For A Will

By Stan Taylor Written on:

Want to make a start on your will?

Making a will is simple

Making a Will is not about wealth it is about making sure that what you want to happen to your estate does happen. It gives you the opportunity to specify such things as who will administer your estate, who will care for your children and who will receive specific items of your property.

There is no set format for a will.

With professionally drawn wills a lot depends on the individual style, of the draftsman. The important thing is that the terms used are unambiguous so as to avoid costly disputes after your death. There is also no requirement for a will to be written on any special type of paper.

Like a cheque it can be written on anything

For example, the London Probate Registry has a will written on an egg. However, it is not recommended that you adopt the procedure of writing on anything other than paper or see

The law's requirements for a valid will are not particularly onerous

They are:
  1. The will must be in writing.
  2. The document must be testamentary; that is, it is intended to take effect only on your death.
  3. You must be of sound mind.
  4. You must be 18 or over (21 or over before 2000).
  5. The will must be executed correctly. On the face of it, these requirements appear very easy to fulfil. In reality, there are numerous ways in which the writers of home-made wills manage to mess things up.

Sometimes they omit essential matters such as the appointment of executors or write conflicting dispositions of their assets.

Others simply fail to comply with the formalities of execution. I have dealt with one case where the testator wrote out the will in good style and had it witnessed by two witnesses.

Unfortunately, he completely forgot to sign it himself so, as far as the law was concerned, it was of no more consequence than his shopping list.

More Reading - Formalities For A Will - Requirement For Writing or Formalities For A Will - Requirement For Testamentary Nature

Recommended Solicitors

Free Will Sample download

see: Making a will - The Law Society. Please note that will making differs in Scotland and this website currently deals with English laFree Will download


Perhaps you might consider taking legal advice from a solicitor about making a will if any of the following apply to your circumstances:


  1. A number of people could make a claim on your estate when you pass away because they depend on yourself financially
  2. You want to include a trust in your will (perhaps to provide for children, to save tax, or simply protect your assets in some way after you become deceased)
  3. Your physical and permanent home is not in the UK and / or you are not a British citizen
  4. You live here in the UK but you have additional property abroad
  5. You own all or part of a UK business.

see: Making a will - The Law Society. Please note that will making differs in Scotland and this website currently deals with English law.

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