Republication of Wills

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Republication of Wills
  • Nature of republication
  • Republication methods
  • The effect of republication
  • Legacies
  • Intermediate Wills
  • Limitations of republication

Republication of Wills

Nature of republication

Publication was a declaration by the testator to the witnesses that the Will was theirs.

The process of publication of a Will is no longer necessary. Section 13 of the Wills Act 1837 (WA 1837) provides:

‘Every Will executed in manner herein-before required, shall be valid without any other publication thereof.’

Revival and republication of a Will serve different purposes. Revival restores a revoked Will or codicil. Where a testator has revoked their Will and they wish to revive that Will, they may write out the revoked Will again and execute it in accordance with WA 1837, s 9 (see WA 1837, s 22). On the other hand, republication just confirms an unrevoked testamentary instrument.

The use of the term republication has been subject to criticism. Lord Porte in Berkeley referred to it as 'an expression now meaningless, but still unhappily in use'.

Republication methods

Republication is possible by two methods: express or constructive republication.

Express republication

Express republication takes place where a testator re-executes their Will, with the necessary formalities of attestation for the express purpose of republishing it.

Constructive republication

Constructive republication occurs when a testator makes a codicil to their Will or some testamentary instrument from which it can be inferred that they wish it to be read as part of their Will.

If either of these two methods is followed, then republication will be implied if something

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