Is a handwritten will legal in the UK?


Making a will is something that many people avoid. But if you don’t have one, then it can be hard for others to know what to do with your assets after you’ve passed away. A handwritten will is still a valid will in the UK, but there are some things that you need to take into consideration before putting pen to paper. If you’ve been wondering, ‘is a handwritten will legal in the UK?’ and want to know more, then our guide can help.

Is a handwritten will legal in the UK?

In the UK, you can write your own will. However, it’s not as simple as that: there are a couple of things to consider before making this decision:

  • Your handwriting must be legible and easy to understand
  • You must prove that you are of sound mind and not under any undue influence when completing the document

As such, a professionally drafted will is usually better than one handwritten by yourself, but that shouldn’t be an issue provided you draft your handwritten will correctly.

A handwritten will is still valid if done right

Homemade DIY wills are often poorly drafted, contain mistakes or are incorrectly executed. As a result, they are commonly found to be invalid or ineffective after death. However, if drafted correctly, a handwritten will is still completely valid in the eyes of the law.

Handwritten wills are classified as holograph wills. Legally speaking, these wills must adhere to the legislation outlined in the Wills Act of 1837. In essence, this law states that the will must be signed by the testator – or the person making the will – and overseen by two witnesses who sign the will with the testator present.

If the handwritten will isn’t correctly witnessed or signed, then it won’t be seen as valid in the eyes of the law.

You must be over 18 and of sound mind to make a will

To be valid, a will must be made by an individual who is of sound mind and over 18 years old. The person making the will must also have the mental capacity to understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.

If you have any doubts about whether or not someone has the mental capacity necessary to make a valid will, it’s best to consult with a lawyer before proceeding with any plans for writing one up.

Be careful with handwritten wills

If you have a handwritten will in place, ensure that it is properly witnessed and signed by someone who knows what they’re doing. It’s important for the witnesses to be able to confirm that you were of sound mind when signing the document and also that they saw your signature on the will itself.


It is possible to write a legal will in the UK, but the best way to make sure your wishes are carried out is by speaking with an estate planner who can help you put together the formality of a professionally drafted will.

If you’d like further advice or assistance with drafting a will, contact our team at Will Claim Solicitors today.