The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Revocation of the whole or part of a Will or codicil by destruction, or by another Will or codicil, requires an intention to revoke. The testator may have intended revocation to take place either:
immediately (absolute), or
on certain matters taking effect or coming to pass (conditional)
If the testator revokes a Will subject to a condition, the revocation will take effect only if it is satisfied.
The condition may make revocation dependent on the validity of another Will or codicil: if for any reason the other Will or codicil is not valid, the revocation does not take effect. Such a conditional revocation may be referred to as the doctrine of dependent relative revocation and has its historical origin in Cowper LC's judgment in Onions v Tyrer(1716) 1 P Wms 343.
For example, a testator made three Wills. He wrote to his solicitor stating that the second Will would be found at his bank and that the third one had been destroyed. Only the first Will was found at the bank. It was held that there was evidence of the destruction of the third Will, which was intended to validate the second Will, and there was a revocation of the third Will on the condition that the second Will was validated. This condition was not fulfilled and the third Will
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