Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s a Will……Or is it?!

Following the death of the famous soul singer Aretha Franklin, the family have unearthed what they believe may be three hand-written Wills.

At the time of her death, the family believed that she died without having made a Will but it has now been reported that three documents have been found, two in a locked cabinet and one, believe it or not, down the back a sofa! Franklin’s lawyer has filed the documents but has said himself he is not sure whether they are valid are not.

So what makes a will a valid document?

A Will does not necessarily have to be typed to be valid. It can be handwritten. It is however very important to understand that a Will can be classed as void and set aside if certain formalities are not met. The person who makes the Will (the ‘Testator’) must sign the document and his or her signature must be witnessed by two independent people. The witnesses must NOT be beneficiaries under the Will otherwise the gift to that witness will be void. The two witnesses must be present when the Testator is signing the Will and they must sign the Will in the presence of the Testator. The witnesses do not need to see the content of the Will and they do not necessarily need to be present with each other when they are witnessing the Will.

If these formalities are not met, a Will could be set aside. We therefore recommend preparing your Will with your solicitor to ensure there are no mistakes.

If you still haven’t ticked the “make a Will” off the To-Do list yet, get in touch with us on 02890 329801 or my email All of our clients say that once they get the ball rolling, the process of making a Will really is very straightforward!