Validity of Wills—alterations, interlineations and erasures
Validity of Wills—alterations, interlineations and erasures

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

  • Validity of Wills—alterations, interlineations and erasures
  • Amendments to a Will
  • Alterations before execution of the Will
  • Alterations after execution of the Will
  • Not apparent
  • Obliterations
  • The presumption—alterations were made after execution of the Will
  • Rebuttal of the presumption
  • Interlineation
  • Alterations before re-execution of the Will
  • more

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): As announced on 17 April 2020, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has authorised District Probate registrars to allow statements of truth to be used in place of affidavits for non-contentious probate applications and processes during the coronavirus pandemic. The relevant rules which are affected by the guidance are: Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987, SI 1987/2024, rr 12(1), 16, 19, 25(2), 26, 32(2), 44(12), 46(2), 46(4), 47(4), 47(6), 48(2)(a), 50(2), 51, 52, 53, 54(3) and 55(2). The guidance is valid until 30 July 2020 but may be made permanent by statutory instrument in future. See: LNB News 17/04/2020 92. For updates on key developments and related practical guidance on the implications of coronavirus for practitioners, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Private Client—overview and Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit.

Amendments to a Will

A testator, having drawn up a Will, may wish to make amendments to it, either before they execute it or after. In most cases, it is better to prepare a new Will or a codicil to the Will making the amendment in clear terms.

If the alteration is to be made in a Will after execution, it must comply with the provisions of section 21 of the Wills Act 1837 (WA 1837) which provides:

'No obliteration, interlineation or other alteration made in a will after the execution thereof