The formalities required for executing a will are stipulated in section 2 of the Wills Act 7 of 1953 and can be summarized as follows:

  1. The will must be signed at the end thereof by the testator himself or herself, or an amanuensis (someone who signs the will on behalf of the testator).


  1. Should the will have more than one page, every page other than the last one must be signed anywhere on the page by the testator or the amanuensis.


  1. The signature of the testator or the amanuensis must be made (or acknowledged) in the presence of two or more competent witnesses.


  1. Such witnesses must attest and sign the will in the presence of the testator and each other, and of the amanuensis ((where applicable).


  1. Where the testator signs with a mark, or an amanuensis sign for the testator with a mark, a commissioner of oaths must be present and certification formalities apply.


  • These strict formalities are to guard against possible fraud.


  • Any person above the age of 16 years is competent to make a will and any person over the age of 14 years is competent to witness a will.


  • The following should be noted:


  • Wills should always be in writing.
  • Wills should be dated to avoid confusion, should there be more than one will.
  • Amanuensis and witnesses cannot benefit under a will and cannot be nominated as executors of the estate.

The original will should be safely kept as the copies (with no original) will be deemed invalid.