A recent decision by Derby Crown Court serves as a reminder that even if a will has been genuinely signed by the testator, it must still comply with the requirements of section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 regarding the witnesses.
In brief, section 9 states that will must be signed by the testator (or by someone at their direction) and that the signature must be made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two witnesses who must then sign the will (or acknowledge their own signature) in the presence of the testator.
In the case of the will of Norman Meakin, his long term partner Joyce Lovelock attempted to prove a will in her possession which was validly signed by Mr Meakin but was signed by two 'witnesses' after his death. A suspended jail sentence was imposed.
Mr Hurst said: "It's a corruption of the witnesses to say they had signed at the correct time."