Has your signature changed? Are you finding it hard to sign documents? Nowadays many documents can be signed electronically. However, a valid Will must be signed by the will-maker.
In a recent case a frail will-maker signed her Will with a “X” rather than a signature and the crosses she made were “wobbly”. One of her daughters argued in Court that the “wobbly” nature of her “mark” inferred that her mother was frail when she signed her Will and therefore did not understand her Will and did not approve of its contents. As a result, her daughter argued that the Will was not valid and she should inherit more than just her gift in the Will. (Intestacy laws- laws which operate when the will-maker dies without a valid Will meant that this daughter would inherit more).
A matrix of facts, however, suggested that the will-maker had capacity when she made her mark. She had previously signed legal documents with an “X”. Her GP notes suggested that she was sufficiently well when she marked the Will. Friends and family gave evidence of the will-maker’s behaviour at the time. The evidence was conflicting, but the Judge preferred the evidence that the Will-maker understood what she was doing.
So, physical frailty is not a hurdle to executing a Will but it pays to make sure that there is some contemporaneous evidence to refute any allegations which might be made by family members.
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