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Can a Will be valid if it is undated?

The requirements for a valid Will are set out in Wills Act 1837 (as amended by the Administration of Justice Act 1982) and are as follows:

  • The Will must be in writing and signed by the testator or by some other person in his presence and by his direction
  • It must appear that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will
  • The signature must be made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time, and
  • Each witness must either:
  • Attest and sign the will, or
  • Acknowledge his signature, in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of any other witness)

There is therefore no legal requirement that a will must be dated and so the lack of a date (or indeed the inclusion of an incorrect date) does not invalidate a Will. This was confirmed by the case of Corbett v Newey [1996] 2 All ER 914].

Please note:

Where there is a doubt as to the date on which a will was executed, the district judge or registrar may require evidence to establish it. Such evidence may be required, for example, where the deceased left two Wills, one undated, and it is uncertain which Will is the most recent.

It is also worth noting that an appointment of guardians must be dated to be valid and so any appointment of guardians made under an undated Will may fail.

If you would like a chat to discuss further, please feel free to contact me for a free 30-minute consultation.

Sophie Campbell

01637 800 306

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