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:
- 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).
- 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.
- The signature of the testator or the amanuensis must be made (or acknowledged) in the presence of two or more competent witnesses.
- Such witnesses must attest and sign the will in the presence of the testator and each other, and of the amanuensis ((where applicable).
- 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.