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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Succession: Wills: Formalities required to make a valid Will

A Will must be in writing unless it is a privileged Will (IHTM12046) but no special form of words is required. It can be hand-written or typed

The testator or testatrix (IHTM12001) must sign the Will. The courts will accept as a signature whatever mark was intended to be their signature, and this can include a cross or other mark. Normally the signature is made at the end of the Will but if the Will is signed elsewhere it can still be valid.

The testator or testatrix must intend to give effect to the Will by signing it.

The testator or testatrix’s signature must be witnessed by at least two witnesses. They must both be present at the same time when the testator or testatrix signs the Will. The witnesses must acknowledge the signature in the presence of the testator or testatrix though not necessarily in the presence of each other.

The position of the witnesses’ signatures does not matter. But if the signatures are not on the same paper as the Will they must be on a paper physically connected with it.