A Comprehensive Guide Revoking a Will

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Creating a will is an essential part of estate planning, allowing individuals to dictate how their assets should be distributed after their passing. However, circumstances change, and there may come a time when you need to amend or revoke your existing will.

There are several ways to revoke a will or specific sections of it, depending on your circumstances. The team at Swansea Legal Solutions explains the various methods and legal considerations involved in revoking a will.

Creating a New Will

One of the most common ways to revoke an existing will is by creating a new one. When you draft a new will, it should explicitly state that it revokes all previous wills and codicils. By doing so, you ensure that the new will takes precedence, and your wishes are updated in accordance with your current situation.

Physically Destroying the Will

Another way to revoke a will in the UK is by physically destroying it. This can be accomplished by:

  • Tearing, shredding, or burning the will.
  • Using any method that renders the document illegible, such as cutting or defacing it.
  • Explicitly stating your intention to revoke the will while performing one of the above actions.

It’s essential to ensure that the destruction is deliberate and carried out by the testator (the person making the will) or someone acting on their behalf, in their presence.

Revoking by Marriage or Civil Partnership

In the UK, marriage or entering into a civil partnership automatically revokes a will, unless the will was made expressly in contemplation of that marriage or partnership. This means that if you get married or enter into a civil partnership after creating your will, your existing will becomes invalid. To avoid this, you should include a clause in your will that anticipates such an event.

Revoking by Divorce or Dissolution

Similar to marriage, divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership can also affect your will. If you’ve named your spouse or civil partner as a beneficiary or executor, their roles are automatically revoked upon the divorce or dissolution. However, any other provisions in the will remain valid. To ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, it’s crucial to update your will after a divorce or dissolution.

Revoking Specific Sections (Codicils)

Sometimes, you may only want to revoke specific sections or provisions within your will without nullifying the entire document. In such cases, you can create a codicil, which is a supplementary document that amends or revokes particular clauses of your will. Ensure the codicil clearly outlines the sections to be revoked and the changes you wish to make. Like a new will, a codicil must be executed with the same formalities as a will.

Revoking a will or sections of a will involves a combination of legal and procedural steps. It’s essential to understand the options available to you and follow the correct procedures to ensure your intentions are accurately reflected in your estate planning. Whether you’re creating a new will, destroying the existing one, or revoking it due to a significant life event, such as marriage or divorce, consulting with a legal professional, like Swansea Legal Solutions, can provide the guidance you need to navigate the process effectively. Estate planning is a dynamic process, and keeping your will up to date is crucial to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

If you’re looking to revoke or make changes to your will, call us today on 01792 420844 to book an appointment. 

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