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Francesco Marra & Co Notaries

Public notary – Italian law firm

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The Legality and Importance of Making a Will with a Notary Public in England and Wales

In England and Wales, creating a will is a vital legal process that ensures an individual’s desires concerning the distribution of their assets and possessions are carried out after their passing. Although it is feasible to draft a will without involving a notary public, utilising their services can add an additional layer of security and assurance to the testamentary process. This article explores the legality and importance of creating a will with a notary public in England and Wales.

Legal Framework

The legal framework governing wills in England and Wales primarily consists of the Wills Act 1837 and the Administration of Estates Act 1925, alongside other relevant statutes and case law. These laws outline the requirements for a valid will, including the necessity for it to be in writing, signed by the testator, and witnessed by at least two individuals who are not beneficiaries.

Role of a Notary Public

A notary public is a legally qualified professional appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Their role involves authenticating and certifying documents for use abroad and providing independent verification of signatures, identities, and facts.

When it comes to creating a will, a notary public can play a crucial role in ensuring the validity and authenticity of the document. They can oversee the signing of the will, confirm the testator’s identity, and certify the execution of the document. Although not strictly required by law, involving a notary public can add credibility to the will and mitigate the risk of disputes or challenges to its validity.

Importance of Notarised Wills

There are several reasons why opting for a notarised will in England and Wales can be beneficial:

Enhanced Credibility: A will that has been notarised carries an additional level of credibility and authenticity, making it less susceptible to challenges questioning its validity.

International Recognition: If the testator or their beneficiaries reside abroad or have assets located overseas, a notarised will may facilitate its recognition and execution in foreign jurisdictions, as notarisation often satisfies the requirements of international law.

Preventing Fraud and Undue Influence: The involvement of a notary public adds a layer of protection against fraud or undue influence during the will-making process. The notary can verify the testator’s capacity and ensure they are acting of their own free will.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that their will has been notarised by a qualified professional can provide the testator with peace of mind that their final wishes will be carried out as intended, minimising the risk of confusion or disputes among beneficiaries.

Conclusion

While creating a will in England and Wales does not necessarily require the involvement of a notary public, their services can offer valuable benefits in terms of credibility, authenticity, and international recognition. By ensuring that the will-making process is conducted with the utmost integrity and professionalism, a notary public can help individuals safeguard their legacy and provide for their loved ones according to their wishes. Therefore, considering the option of creating a will with the assistance of a notary public is a prudent step in estate planning and asset management.

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