Anyone can make a Will, as long as you meet these two basic requirements:
- AGE: you are at least 18 years old,
- ABILITY: you are 'of sound mind'.
Further information about these requirements, including exceptions, can be found below.
To make your Will you must be at least 18 years old. The exception to this is soldiers who are on active duty and sailors who are at sea at the time they wish to make a Will. In these situations, the lower age limit is 14 years old.
There is no upper age limit for making a Will. You may make or alter your Will as long as you are of sound mind.
To make a Will a person must be 'of sound mind'. More specifically, at the moment when they sign the Will they must be mentally capable of understanding what they are doing and the consequences of that action.
Therefore some people with mental illnesses may be considered to be 'of sound mind' for the purposes of making a Will, in the sense that they understand the action they are taking and its consequences. Conversely, someone who is not mentally ill but is receiving very strong palliative drugs for a physical illness may be considered not of sound mind, if they do not understand what is happening.
If there is uncertainty about a testator's mental fitness to make a Will, their doctor's advice should be sought.
There is no restriction on people who are illiterate making a Will. If a testator cannot read or write, they can dictate their wishes for someone else to write down. If they cannot sign their name, they can make their mark, such as a cross, on the document. What matters is that the testator understands that they are making a Will, and the consequences of doing so.
Further information on making a Will that is legally valid can be found on our page Avoiding the Pitfalls.