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  6. Can a will be signed with an electronic signature?

Can a will be signed with an electronic signature?

Can a will be signed with an electronic signature?

No. A will must be signed in accordance with the formalities set out in section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 which states:

No will shall be valid unless:

a) it is in writing, and signed by the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; and
b) it appears that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will; and
c) the signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time; and
d) each witness either

i) attests and signs the will; or
ii) acknowledges his signature, in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of any other witness).

This would indicate that a will signed by an electronic signature may not be valid, due to the distinct nature of wills; case law has generally favoured a wet signature as this authenticates the document. There is some argument that electronic signatures might be acceptable, but case law is not definitive. There has to be strong compelling evidence that the requirements of s.9 were adhered to. The Law Commission is currently reviewing this area of law and in particular the formalities for the signing of a valid will. Until this review is complete it would be practical to have all wills witnessed with wet signatures.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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