Many people are knowledgeable that in order to generate a valid will a number of formal legal conditions must be met. Previously copies that were planned to be a will but that failed to meet the legal formalities were considered invalid. This indicated that no matter how precisely the testamentary intentions of a deceased were declared, those plans could not be served through if the document did not comply with the legal requirements. These circumstances arise frequently, for example where a draft of will has been developed by a solicitor but has not been signed before the death of will-maker, or a formal will has not been testified rightly.
These common situations may have appeared in an intended beneficiary being deprived of an inheritance.
Changes in Validated Wills Documents
The Wills Act 2007 entered important changes that enable a Court, in specific situations, to validate documents that appear to be a will or that record the testamentary intentions of the deceased.
The new changes depict that a person who in good intentions sets out to express testamentary plans, should not have those wishes frustrated by some technicalities. The Act’s focus on the deceased’s intentions and the basis of the document were intended to appear in outcomes that more explicitly reflect the most recent intentions of the testator.
Examples of documents that the Courts have endorsed as will include:
- A letter sent to the deceased’s solicitor directing specific changes to be made to the division of the deceased’s assets.
- A letter left by the deceased for family members that covered wishes in relation to the distribution of the assets.
- A collection of notes that covered funeral names and directions of individuals whom the deceased desired to give some gifts.
- Handwritten changes to a validly executed will.
How to Validate a Will?
It is vital to forward an application to the High Court under Section 14 of the Wills Act 2007 in order for a Court to validate a document as a will. The High Court has the discretion to declare a document to be a valid will if the Court is convinced that the document follows the will-maker’s testamentary wishes.
The Court may consider the document itself whether the document has been endorsed by the deceased or witnessed, any note made by the deceased as to how they want their assets to be divided, relationships between the testator and designated beneficiaries, and how recently the document was produced, etc.
The document must have come into existence in New Zealand and must appear to be a will in the sense that the document either attempts to make a disposition of assets, or appoint personal representatives after the person’s death, or appoint a testamentary guardian.
The best method to avoid the need for applications of this type is to update your wills constantly. If, however, a relative or friend has passed away, leaving written notes in relation to their property that may not meet the legal requirements; get in touch with us promptly. An application to the Court to have those documents validated may resolve the matter and ensure that the person’s intentions are being met.