A month before his death in April 1616 William Shakespeare sent for his attorney and dictated the terms of his will. He must have suspected or feared that he was nearing his end, although the fever that killed him didn’t take a real grip until the last week and, indeed, the night before his death he was still eating and drinking with friends.
The will itself was not written in Shakespeare’s hand but may have been drafted by his lawyer Francis Collins, or possibly by Collin’s clerk. The three page will contains three of the six surviving examples of his signature, which authenticated the will.
Shakespeare’s will was very much a conventional will, expressed in the language of lawyers, properly witnessed and registered, and taken to London to the Prerogative Court of Canterbury to be legally validated on 22 June 1616. The will accounted for everything Shakespeare had owned.