Signing & storing your Will

Once your Will has been drafted, what do you do? Here are several things to consider.

  1. Signing your Last Will and Testament

Once you’ve read through your Will and you’re happy with it, the next step is to sign it. Before you pick up the closest pen and merely scrawl your mark, be aware of the following requirements.

  • You must sign your Will in front of 2 witnesses. You can’t sign it, then only later ask some witnesses to sign. After all, the whole purpose of being a witness is to witness! Their presence acknowledges that you did indeed sign your Will and your signature wasn’t fraudulent, you knew what you were doing and were not intoxicated at the time, and you weren’t placed under duress or pressurised by someone to sign it against your volition.
  • The following people cannot sign as a witness:
    • Anyone named as your beneficiary
    • Anyone named as your heir
    • Anyone who is married to a person named as your beneficiary or heir
    • Anyone under the age of fourteen years
    • Anyone who is not of sound mind or is incompetent to give evidence in court
  • Sign every page of your Will. While your witnesses are only required to sign the last page, it is recommended that they sign every page nonetheless.
  • Make sure that you sign the last page just under the last of the wording, without leaving too much of a space between the wording of your Will and your signature.
  1. Safe-keeping

Once your Will is signed, what do you do with it? There are institutions that offer a Will storage service, generally for a fee. But you’re don’t have to use them. The main thing is to ensure that your original Will is stored in a safe place and is easily accessible by your loved ones. It’s also suggested that you:

  • Tell your loved ones that you have a Will
  • Tell them (and especially your executors) where your Will is being kept so that they can find it when it is eventually needed
  • You could think about scanning a copy of your Will and/or making certified copies, and giving copies to people you trust. While copies of Wills are not generally valid, they have been known to be accepted on very good cause shown.
  1. Regularly review your Will

Life happens and circumstances change. Marriages, divorces, births and deaths are generally the major life events that cause people to review their Wills. But it’s also advisable to review your Will from time to time and make sure that it still reflects exactly what you want. You can either change your Will with a codicil (amending your existing Will) or you can replace your Will with a new one. A new Will is often the preferred option, as a codicil could add unintended ambiguities.

Now may be a good time to ask: Do you have a Will? Has it been properly signed? Is it safely stored away? When last did you review it

Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.

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