Can A Will Be Valid If You Can't Read It

One of the requirements for a Will to be accepted as valid is that the person who makes it must have “knowledge and approval” of its content. In other words, they must understand what the Will says and what it means in practice.

It might seem, therefore, that a Will in a language that the testator could not read would be difficult to validate.  However, this was not the view of the High Court in a recent case.

The son of a couple who had executed Mirror Wills contested his late mother’s Will. Her Will was written in 1998 and gave her estate to his younger brother.

He argued that she could not have understood the Will, which was written in English, as her command of the language was insufficient to give her knowledge and approval of its content.

However the court ruled that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary or any suspicious circumstances surrounding its execution, the Will should stand

Comments of Ruth Mills – Head of Wills & Probate.

The bar is set high for those who wish to challenge a Will on the basis that the person making it lacked knowledge and approval. 

In cases such as this, the provision of a signed and certified translation in the language of the person making the Will, would be a sensible precaution.

James Tawse