The Importance of having a Signed Will.
It is every executors nightmare – finding out that the will they need to administer is invalid due to a very basic, yet important, step in the process – being signed by the Will maker.
If we go back to first principles, the law is very clear that an unsigned Will cannot be enforced unless it can be shown to the Court that the Will maker or testator had a clear intention for the document to be binding. Proving that, however, can be a difficult and costly excursion.
We can demonstrate this scenario with a recent matter we took on. The client’s aunt had a valid binding Will signed some years ago. Naturally, circumstances changed, and she had the Will redrafted. Unfortunately, she passed away soon after the new solicitors had redrafted her Will, leaving a no signed will.
We are currently applying to the Court under section 18 of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) for the unsigned Will to be proved as the deceased’s last intention. The Court requires evidence from the Will drafter (the deceased’s former solicitor) as well as evidence from “beyond the grave” that the deceased did, in fact intend for the unsigned Will to reflect her final wishes.
Gathering sufficient evidence will prove to be a timely and costly exercise, and if anyone decides to contest the application to the Court, the costs to the Estate will increase exponentially.
To avoid your family having to go through a difficult process such as this – don’t delay – make an appointment with our experienced Wills and Estates team today!