Requirements of a valid will

Case study:

Sleeping Beauty heard from her friends that she must make a Will in order to provide for her family after her death. She does not know how to make a Will and what the requirements are for her Will to be valid. Sleeping Beauty approached Little Birdie at LegalWise for some advice. Little Birdie informed Sleeping Beauty of the following:

  • There are specific requirements a Will must comply with which are regulated by the Wills Act 7 of 1953.
  • The requirements for a valid Will are as follow:
    • A person must be over the age of 16 (sixteen) years.
    • The Will must be in writing. This means that a Will can by typed or handwritten. If the Will is handwritten, it must be remembered that the person who writes the Will is not allowed to be mentioned as a beneficiary in that specific Will.
    • Each page of the Will, including the last page, must be signed by the testator. The Will must also be signed by two competent witnesses. A person will qualify to be a competent witness if s/he is 14 (fourteen) years of age or older.

Case study:

Sleeping Beauty made her Will while being alone in her castle and signed it that same night. There were no witnesses present at that time. She wants to know if two witnesses can sign the Will at a later stage without her being present. Little Birdie informed her that:

  • It is very important that the testator and the witnesses sign the Will in the presence of each other. This means that the Will made by Sleeping Beauty is invalid; she and the witnesses must be together at the same time and place when they sign the Will.

Case study:

Sleeping Beauty pricked her index finger and is now unable to sign her Will. She wants to know if there is any other way, she can sign her Will. Little Birdie informed her that:

  • A person who cannot sign his/her Will, can sign it by making a thumbprint. If a thumbprint is used, the Will must be certified by a Commissioner of Oaths indicating that s/he is satisfied with the identity of the testator and that it is indeed the Will of the testator. Sleeping Beauty must place the thumbprint on her Will in the presence of the Commissioner of Oaths, as well as the witnesses.

Glossary of terms:

  • Will: A document in which a person makes sure that his/her belongings are distributed in accordance with his/her wishes after his/her death.
  • Testator: A person who makes a Will.

Source: LegalWise