Voluntary revocation
Voluntary revocation

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

  • Voluntary revocation
  • Modes of voluntary revocation
  • Intention to revoke
  • Revocation by another Will or codicil
  • 'Some writing'
  • Revocation by destruction

Modes of voluntary revocation

A Will is regarded by the law as revocable by the testator until their death. A testator may not revoke their Will in any manner, the Wills Act 1837 (WA 1837), section 20 sets out the permitted methods, namely:

  1. by a later Will or codicil duly executed

  2. by some writing declaring an intention to revoke the Will and duly executed as a Will

  3. by burning, tearing or otherwise destroying the Will by the testator or someone in their presence and by their direction, with the intention of revoking the same

Intention to revoke

WA 1837, s 20 requires the testator to intend to revoke the Will. Consequently, revocation is not proved by, for example:

  1. mere accidental words (Symson v Kirton (1606) Cro Jac 115)

  2. inference

  3. the form of the testamentary document

  4. implication where the circumstances do not accord with such an intention

Revocation by another Will or codicil

Revocation by an express clause

An earlier Will is revoked by an express revocation clause in a subsequent Will or codicil provided the Will in which the clause is contained is executed in accordance with the formalities laid down in WA 1837, s 9.

No particular form of words is necessary for this purpose (Cottrell v Cottrell (1872) LR 2 P & D 397).

A revocation clause

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