Attestation clause

A will does not need to use special words. All it has to say is that it is the will of the testator, who wants her or his property to be distributed in a certain way. It is most important that the will be worded in clear, unambiguous language.

However, there is one clause that should always be inserted in a will. This is the attestation clause (the part of the will that deals with the witnessing of the testator's signature). If there is no attestation clause, an affidavit made by at least one witness, giving details of how the will was signed and witnessed, will be needed when the application for probate is made after the testator's death. Sometimes the witnesses are dead or have moved, and so the signature cannot be proved. In either case, there will be great difficulties in obtaining the grant of probate if there is no attestation clause.

An example of a standard attestation clause:

The testator/testatrix signed in the presence of both of us being present at the same time, and we attested his/her signature in the presence of him/her and of each other.

An example of attestation clause used when a will is read to a testator/testatrix who is blind:

This will having been first read over to the testator/testatrix who is blind by me the undersigned (name) in the presence of me the undersigned (name) when the testator/testatrix appeared thoroughly to understand it and to approve of its contents was signed by the testator/testatrix as his/her last will and testament in our joint presence and by us in his/her presence.

An attestation clause to be used when a will is read to a testator /testatrix who cannot write might read as follows:

IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand this day of 20

HIS/HER A X B MARK

SIGNED by the above-named AB by making his/her mark as and for his/her last will and testament after it had been read over to him/her and he/she appeared thoroughly to understand it and to approve of its contents in our joint presence and by us in his/her presence.

(Note that if the person cannot write because of physical incapacity, then the witness should indicate this with appropriate detail on the will. It is best to get professional assistance in these cases.)

An attestation clause to be used when a will is translated by a witness to a testator who cannot read or understand English might read as follows:

IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand this day of 20..

........................................................................................................................

SIGNED by the testator/testatrix as and for his/her last will and testament after it had been read over to him/her in English and (state language) by me the undersigned (name) in the presence of me the undersigned (name) when the testator/testatrix appeared thoroughly to understand it and to approve of its contents in our joint presence and by us in his/her presence.

Any will which is made for a testator who is blind, unable to write (because of illiteracy or some other disability), or unable to understand English, needs to be dealt with most carefully. Professional assistance is recommended in these cases.

Attestation clause  :  Last Revised: Fri May 30th 2014
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