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Illiterate testator question

Posted on 1 November 2007 at 9:22 am
Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Anonymous
    1 November 2007 at 9:22 am #2990

    If a testator were illiterate how would a Will or any codicils be validated?

    Many thanks,


    2 November 2007 at 12:35 pm #9969


    In answer to your question, the will writer would read through the will with the client to confirm they understand the content. The client could also ask their witness to read the will out to ensure the clients wishes are followed. The will is legal once signed by client and witness.

    I hope this helps?

    For further information about will writing in general or our ‘charity will writing’ service please visit or telephone: 0845 006 0728

    6 November 2007 at 11:23 pm #9970

    As I understand it, the witnesses attest to the signature, not the content of the will.

    I would get the witnesses to satisfy themselves that the testator has had the will read to them, and that they understand. They would then sign a statement to that effect, in addition to the standard witness declaration.

    Hope this helps.



    7 November 2007 at 3:00 pm #9971


    Of course the witness only signs to confirm the testator’s signing of the will and not the content of the will. Perhaps you need to read over my comments more clearly!

    Hope this helps?

    7 November 2007 at 3:48 pm #9972

    Hi, Shona

    I’m pretty sure I read your comment carefully. Perhaps you might return the compliment!

    My point is that the testator may not wish the witnesses to know the content of the will. In that event, the witnesses could do as I suggest, and verify that the will has been read to the testator.

    Your advice may be acceptable in many circumstances – especially in a solicitor’s office, where the witness is probably not known to the testator. However, in someone’s home, where the witnesses may be neighbours, my advice would be preferable.

    Are we clear what each of us means now?



    10 November 2007 at 6:22 pm #9973

    I suggest that:

    1) The Will is read to the Testator. It can be read by anyone – including one of the witnesses.
    2) The testator then signs the Will (or makes his mark) in front of the two witnesses
    3) The two witnesses then sign in the presence of the Testator and each other.

    The ‘standard’ attestation clause will need to be replaced with something along the lines of:

    The Testator being unable to read, this Will was read to him and he stated that he understood it. It was then signed by the Testator [with his mark] in our presence and attested by us in his presence and in the presence of each other.

    Institute of Professional Willwriters

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