Areas of Law / Wills and Probate

An elderly relative has hand-written her will on an ordinary piece of paper, and because she’s got someone to witness it she thinks it’s a legal document. Surely this cannot be right?

It sounds as though your relative’s instructions won’t constitute a legal will; if she had signed it in the presence of two witnesses who don’t stand to benefit from the document (and whose spouses don’t stand to benefit from it either) it might have passed muster as long as they had also signed and dated it. If the will isn’t drawn up and witnessed correctly her property will be distributed according to intestacy rules. Try to persuade your relative to see a solicitor to make sure her wishes are carried out. It’s not expensive to draw up a will.

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