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Is it necessary for witnesses to append their addresses to a Will at the time of execution?

We refer you to section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 (WA 1837) which sets out the requirements for a valid Will. That section states:

‘No will shall be valid unless—

(a) it is in writing, and signed by the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; and

(b) it appears that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will; and

(c) the signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time; and

(d) each witness either—

(i) attests and signs the will; or

(ii) acknowledges his signature,

in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of any other witness),

but no form of attestation shall be necessary.’

There is no specific requirement in that section for the witnesses’ addresses to be noted under their signature in the Will. Although no form of attestation is necessary, it is always desirable to have an attestation clause showing that the statutory requirements have been complied with. Commentary in Halsbury’s Laws of England notes that the shortest form of attestation clause acceptable to the probate registries is ‘signed by the testator in our presence and then by us in his’. However, it is good practice to keep a record of the witnesses’ contact details and addresses alongside the Will, in the event of a later dispute as to the Will’s validity.

Please note that making even minor amendments to an executed Will runs the risk of it being subsequently found to be invalid, either by the Probate Registry or the court. If changes are required to be made to a Will, then it is best practice for it to be formally re-executed in accordance with WA 1837 , s9.

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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