A testamentary document is like a will because the will is the most common form of that type of document. A will is a document that has its vigor and effect upon a death. In other words, a will is an invalid document until a death. It’s an important document but it’s not the type of document that you can take to the bank and borrow against until the actual death occurs and you can prove that you are a beneficiary.
Now, what’s the significance? Some documents look testamentary but may not be. While other documents do not necessarily look testamentary but might be. The legal test is whether the document requires its vigor and effect to be a death in order for the document to come into force and effect. The significance is is that if it is a testamentary document, then it must be signed in accordance with the Wills Act which requires two witnesses and the presence of the person signing the document all in the presence of each other. If it’s not validly witnessed in the court in such as that, then the document might not be valid. The article shows cases where the document is testamentary and cases where the document is found not to be testamentary.