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The Attestation Clause

The attestation clause is perhaps the most important part of any will – yet the majority of people don’t know exactly what it is. At least, not when it is called by its proper name (although once it is explained it is likely that everyone would be aware of it).

The attestation clause is usually the last thing to be written in a will, apart from the testator’s signature. It is the final proof that the will is correct, genuine, and was written in the right way. They date back to the 1940s, and since then such a clause must be present on every will in order for it to be considered satisfactory.

So what is the attestation clause? It is the part of the will that promises that:

a)    the testator wrote the will without any duress or coercion

b)    the testator was in good mental health (sound mind) when the will was written

c)    the will was witnessed and that the witnesses signed the will

d)    that the signature is the testator’s

e)    that the testator was at least 18 when the will was completed (or was a member of the armed forces)

If the will is written without the attestation clause, it is essential that either a new will is made immediately (this can be a copy of the original will, but with the attestation clause added to it), or a codicil is added to the original will that includes the attestation clause. This second option is much easier, and much less time consuming that writing an entirely new will.

If the will is found not to have the attestation clause on it once the testator dies, then it will be found to be invalid. It will be contested or challenged, and the estate may well become intestate.

If you need help ensuring that the attestation clause is in your will, or you wish to add the clause to an existing will, then just contact us – we can help.




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