The best way to answer this question is to approach a wills and estate lawyer for advice. This is a very complicated topic, and the validity of a will can be affected by many things.
There are certain requirements as to the writing and manner of execution of a will in order for it to be valid. One such requirement is the testator being required to sign the will or have someone else sign it in his or her presence and at his or her direction.
However, the law does allow for wills to be admitted to probate as a valid will even if the required formalities are not met, in certain instances.
The validity of a will can also be affected by many other things, such as:
- the capacity of the testator when making his or her will;
- any undue influence placed on the testator when making his or her will;
- any suspicious circumstances surrounding the making of the will;
- lack of knowledge and approval of the will by the testator;
- subsequent wills, codicils or testamentary acts;
- marriage or divorce, or the registration or ending of a registered relationship under the Relationships Register Act 2016 by the testator; and
- destruction or damage, such as by burning or tearing, to the will.
It is also possible for parts of a will to be valid while other parts are not.
Executors should provide all relevant information to their lawyer or to the Court. At times, it will be necessary for the Court to determine the validity of a will, despite the views of any executor or other person. This should be done even if you or someone else doubt the document’s validity.
Do not dispose of these documents or testamentary dispositions, and do not mark them or damage them in any way. Please do not place or remove any clips or fasteners onto or from these documents. Just leave them in the same condition that they are in when you find them.
Contact one of our wills and estates lawyers for advice.