Writing a Will
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Writing a Will: Conventions & Format

There are other traditional practices which, while they are not legal requirements and will not invalidate your will if they are not followed, are conventions used in the layout of wills and which will give your will a classy, professional appearance. These are as follows:

Format

1. The will should be laid out in paragraphs numbered in sequence after a first paragraph which confirms the nature of the document (will or codicil) and states your name, address and occupation or, if you are a woman without an occupation, your status (married woman, widow etc.). The first words of each paragraph should be in block capitals and underlined.

2. The order of the paragraphs should be:

a) a clause beginning I REVOKE to revoke all previous testamentary dispositions if that is your intention;

b) a clause beginning I APPOINT which deals with the appointment of executors and trustees;

c) a clause beginning I GIVE which sets out any legacies of money which you might wish to make;

d) a clause beginning I BEQUEATH which sets out any gifts of specific articles which you wish to make;

e) a clause beginning I DEVISE which sets out any gifts of freehold land or buildings;

f) a clause beginning I GIVE DEVISE BEQUEATH AND APPOINT which deals with any remaining property you may have to dispose of,

g) separate clauses or sub-clauses giving your execu­ tors additional powers or excluding powers which the law gives them by default;

h) a clause beginning I EXPRESS the wish, which sets out your wishes in relation to your funeral and the disposal of your body after your death;

i) a clause beginning IN WITNESS explaining that you have signed your will and stating the date on which it is signed unless the date has been stated in the introductory paragraph; and finally

j) a clause called an attestation clause that explains the circumstances in which the will was signed and witnessed beginning SIGNED. If you are unable to read this clause should explain that the will had been read over to you before you signed it and the two witnesses then signed it in your presence. In these circumstances it should also state that you understood and approved the will. If you are unable to sign the will, the clause should explain that it is signed by a named person for you, at your request and in the joint presence of yourself and two witnesses, who then signed the will in your presence and the presence of the person who signed for you.

3. All names should be set out in full, in capitals and underlined.

4. Sums of money should be stated in words in underlined block capitals followed by the sum in brackets in figures.

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