A Witness is a person who observes the signing of a Will at the time and place that it occurs and affirms this by signing the document.
Who can be a witness
A witness must be able to form the intention “to attest and subscribe a will”, this means they have to be able to place their signature or other sufficient identifying mark representing their name on the will with the intention of attesting that the testator has signed the will in the presence of the Witness. The names and addresses of witnesses should be recorded on the Will.
Beneficiaries as Witnesses
In most jurisdictions a witness or a person married to a witness may not be a beneficiary under the will. In jurisdictions that have abolished this rule in order that doubts the Will was witnessed correctly are minimised a good rule of thumb is that a beneficiary not be a witness to a will.
The follow the following steps should be taken when the Will is being witnessed.
- The Will maker must be in the same room at the same time as both witnesses throughout the witnessing process.
- Neither witness, or the spouse or partner of a witness should be a beneficiary of the will
- The Will maker and both witnesses must use the same pen to sign and witness the will. It should be a blue pen.
- The date that the Will was signed and Witnessed must be inserted in the space provided.
- All pages in the Will must be numbered and in the correct order.
- The will maker should state in front of both Witnesses that they have read the will and agree with what it says
- The Will maker should sign above the word Testator (if male) or Testatrix (if female) on the base of each page and the end of the will using the same pen and in the presence of both witnesses.
- Then using the same pen the first witness in the presence of the will maker and another witness signs below the attestation clause. The witness then adds his or her name occupation and address. The second witness then signs alongside the signature of the first witness in the presence of the will maker and the first witness, and the second witness then adds their name occupation and address.
- Two copies of the will should be made.