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Attestation Clause in your Will

A well drafted will always contains an “Attestation Clause” at the end.  This will set out when the will is signed, who signed it and who witnessed the will.  Further, it will describe accurately how the will should have been executed.

The attestation clause is more than just a mini list of instructions though.  If a will has a properly drafted attestation clause then the “Presumption of Due Execution” will apply.

Presumption of Due Execution

This allows the Probate Registry or the Courts to assume that a will has been signed and witnessed correctly.

Prior to the Presumption of Due Execution a will could be relatively easily challenged by saying it wasn’t executed properly.  Witnesses would be asked to give evidence. This would be difficult if they couldn’t be traced (or they’d died).

Rule 12 of the Non Contentious Probate Rules states that:

“where a will contains no attestation clause or the attestation clause is insufficient… [s/]he shall … require an affidavit as to due execution from one or more of the attesting witnesses or… any other person who was present when the will was executed”.

Tracing a witness or finding someone else to go to court can be an expensive and stressful job.

Example Attestation Clause

In the above image you can see the date, signature of the testator, and the signature and the details of each of the witnesses.

Including this information allows the Presumption of Due Execution to take effect.