Revocation of a Will

There are a number of actions which could result in revocation of a Will. Some are in the control of the maker of the Will, whereas others can occur without the maker being aware of the ramifications.

  1. Marriage or civil partnership - this automatically revokes a Will unless it is apparent the Will was made in contemplation of the marriage, in which case it may be saved if the maker clearly did not intend it to be revoked by the marriage/civil partnership. How the rules apply depends on when the Will was made.
  2. Divorce, dissolution or nullity is also dependent on the date of the Will. Previously the entire Will was revoked. For Wills made on or after 1 January 1996, unless clearly intended otherwise, the spouse is treated as though they died on the date of divorce or annulment. This means they cannot take any inheritance and cannot act as executor. The rule was extended to civil partnerships from 5 December 2005.
  3. A Will, or any part of it, can be revoked by a later Will or codicil or other written document declaring an intention to revoke it.
  4. A Will can also be revoked by destroying the physical Will by burning it, ripping it up etc.

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