Describe the formalities of a valid will

A will is a declaration made by a person during his lifetime, of his intention concerning disposal of his property after his death. In relation to wills

Under section 8 of the act, a will may be made either orally or in writing.


The validity of an oral will is dictated by two factors:

  • The declaration must be made before two or more competent witnesses.
  • The testators death must occur within three months of the declaration.

However, an oral will made by a member of the armed forces or merchant marine during a period of active service remain valid after three months provided death occurs during the same period of active service.

Formalities of a written will

  • writing: there must be some writing. The law does not prescribe any form. It may be handwritten, typed or printed. The law does not prescribe the wording of a will.
  • Signature or mark: it must contain the signature or mark of the testor or some other person who signs in the presence of and in accordance with the directions of the testator.
  • Position of signature: the signature or mark must be placed as to show that it was intended to give effect to the writing as a will.
  • Attestation: the will must be attested to by two or more competent witnesses. The law does not insist on any form of attestation.
  • Presence of witnesses: all witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator. However, they need not be present at the same time.

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