Is a handwritten will valid?

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A valid will must always comply with the formalities defined in section 2 of the Wills Act 7 of 1953.

The formalities include, amongst others:

  • The will must be in writing, either handwritten or typed.
  • The testator/testatrix and the witnesses must sign the will on each page.
  • The witnesses of the will must both be unrelated to the testator/testatrix.
  • The testator/testatrix and the two independent witnesses must sign the will in each other’s presence.

The written/typed format of the will is an essential requirement as the Act does not currently consider an oral will to be valid.

If a will fails to comply with the formalities above, i.e. if heirs sign the will as witnesses or the will is not fully signed, the will can be declared invalid according to the provisions of the Act.

A will must provide the following:

  • Full names and identity numbers of all heirs.
  • A thorough outline of how the testator’s / testatrix’s assets will be inherited.
  • Nomination for chosen guardians if the testator/testatrix has minor children.
  • Nomination for chosen replacement trustee if the testator/testatrix holds such office.
  • Appointment of an executor who will manage the estate of the testator/testatrix upon death.

A will is an important document that ensures your assets are distributed in the way you want after you die. While a handwritten will may seem like a more personal option, it’s important to make sure that it meets all the legal requirements in order to be considered valid. If you are ready to start drafting your will, our team of experts at ASL can help. We have years of experience helping individuals like you create wills that meet all the necessary legal requirements.

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