Responsibilities of witnessing a Will

witnessing a will

Witnessing a will

Wills are witnessed everyday throughout Australia. Often the correct protocols of witnessing a Will are ignored, which can have devastating results for the executors and beneficiaries of the testator's (the person who is making the Will) estate. An incorrectly witnessed Will can, at best, add delay and cost to the administration of an estate, at worst it can result in the Will not being valid (and therefore the testator's last wishes cannot be carried out).

execution and witnessing of a valid will

Why is it important to ensure your Will is correctly executed and witnessed?

If your Will is not correctly executed, that is to say signed, by yourself and witnessed by your witnesses, it can result in any one or more of the following:

Who is an appropriate person to be your Witness?

Ideally, your two witnesses should:

Procedure for execution

To ensure your Will is correctly executed, it is vital the procedure below is followed:

  • 1. Ensure you have two or more independent witnesses present with you when you are signing your Will;
  • 2. Your witnesses must know that they are witnessing and signing your Will, rather than any other type of document.
  • 3. Are your witnesses competent to act as witnesses? Ensure your witnesses are over the age of eighteen (18) years and are not beneficiaries of your Will;
  • 4. Ensure both witnesses and yourself sign the foot of each page of your Will with the same blue or black pen;
  • 5. Ensure each witness has clearly completed their details (name, occupation and address) in the space below their respective signatures.

Witness responsibilities after death of the Testator

The responsibility of a witness to a Will does not end once the Will has been executed.

A witness to a Will may be called upon after the death of the testator to provide evidence that the Will was correctly executed.

If you are an executor, beneficiary or witness of a Will that you believe may not have been correctly executed or you are simply concerned about the nature and circumstances under which a Will was executed then Bainbridge Legal can help. We have a team of solicitors with vast experience in Wills and Estates who can assist you. Please contact us for a no obligation consultation to discuss your concerns.

Speak with our Probate Lawyers today - Parramatta or Blacktown