The legal legislation that outlines the demands for signing a will was written in 1837. Queen Victoria has also crowned the throne in 1837 and the telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse in the same year. Michigan gained the official status of the 26th US state. There is no doubt the information in the Wills Act 1837 is from a long time ago.
For the convenience of our readers, we will investigate the present significance of this law. Especially due to the COVID-19 situation it has become even more imperative that readers understand the connotations of this law and its updates.
“A Will Must Be In Writing”
According to the Wills Act, it means that it must be written down. Instructing someone what to do with your possessions by word of mouth does not qualify as writing. According to the Wills Act, a verbal agreement means nothing, it has no legal validity.
The phonograph was invented in 1877 so this was not referring to audio recordings. According to a modern frame of reference, this means that an official Worthing will writing must be on paper with a signature in ink. Audio recordings, video wills, messages sent from a cellular device do not qualify the prerequisites of being in writing.
According to this clause, anything which has been copied, faxed, scanned, or photoshopped will also not be accepted as a will. These types of documents could be accepted only if the original was accidentally lost or destroyed. Once again this should not be the main plan of action.
“A Will Must Be Signed By The Testator”
In 1877 the best way to corroborate someone’s identification was a signature. You don’t have any more doubt left when you see someone’s name signed in ink. Of course, today we have the advantages of digital signature technology that was invented in 1970. But according to the law, the only thing that is required to make a will valid is a signature scratched in ink.
If someone is completely incapable of reading or writing, they can leave a “mark”. If they are physically handicapped and cannot even provide a mark on paper, someone can do that on their behalf. But according to law, the testator makes the will a valid legal document by inscribing their signature.
So before the law can act on any will or legal document jurisprudence dictates that the document must be recognized as a will. This is the reason why all wills start with the wording, “This is the last will and testament of…”.
Witness Requirements for Will Writing
“The signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time.” This is a clause in the Wills Act which is especially non-compliant with the COVID-19 situation. According to the law, the witnesses must have a direct “line of sight” of the document as it is being signed.
According to the law, the witnesses not only have to be in the same room. But they must also see the testator sign the document. This could be a huge problem given the COVID-19 situation. In consideration of the COVID-19 situation, the government decided to relax the rules and allow witnesses to use video-conferencing technologies.