How to Revoke Your Will

If you have a Will written, you might not imagine that you may want to get rid of it one day. However, circumstances change, and one day you could find yourself wanting to create a new Will from scratch. Here’s how to revoke your Will properly!

Why Revoke Your Will?

If you have a Will already created, there may be several circumstances in which you might want to revoke your Will completely. This can include:

  • Marriage – marriage is the most common reason that many people create a new Will. Getting married automatically revokes any Will you have written previously, so be sure to make a note to create a new one! However, if you create a Will in contemplation of marriage, it will remain valid after you marry your new spouse. 
  • Divorce – divorcing your partner is a big reason many people revoke their Wills. Unlike marriage, divorce does not revoke a Will; your ex-spouse is treated as though they died when your marriage was dissolved. This can seriously impact your estate, and the assets they would inherit may go to people you would not have chosen. 
  • New assets – if you acquire new assets such as properties or jewellery, you may want to revoke your original Will to change who receives what, rather than relying on several codicils. 

Instead of revoking your Will entirely, you may look into adding a codicil, which allows you to make minor changes. This is suitable if you have small or straightforward alterations but may not work for more complicated amendments. Writing a new Will can be much easier and even cheaper in these cases. 

How to Revoke Your Will

There are several ways to revoke your Will, along with getting married, such as:

  • Creating a new Will – to revoke an old Will, you can create a new one. Simply update your new Will with your new wishes, and make sure to add at the end that it revokes all previous Wills and codicils that you have written. 
  • Destruction of an old Will – if you destroy your old Will intentionally, it is automatically revoked. For it to be fully revoked, you must be of sound mind, understand what you are about to do, and destroy any copies you may have with a solicitor or Will writing service. In some cases, you can direct someone else to destroy your Will for you, but this could lead to questions over whether you wanted it to be destroyed. If your executors or beneficiaries think that your Will was destroyed by accident, they may ask the court to uphold it, which could result in your wishes not being followed. 

In many cases, creating a new Will from scratch is much easier than destroying several copies of the original Will. 

When to Create a New Will

You can revoke an old Will and create a new one for any reason you wish. Along with events such as marriage and divorce, you may choose to write a new Will for reasons such as:

  • New children or grandchildren being born – a growing and changing family can mean you want to redistribute your assets to provide for everyone equally. It can be much easier to create a new Will rather than amending it with several codicils. 
  • Moving house – buying and selling property can be a reason to review and change your Will to ensure it is accurate. 
  • Moving country – different countries have different rules surrounding Wills, and you will likely need a new one for your new country of residence. However, you can also have multiple Wills to cover the assets in different countries, although this is a complex area of the law. If you need help managing your foreign property in your estate plan, The Planning Bee can help. 
  • Changes in executors and beneficiaries – in some cases, your chosen beneficiaries or executors may pass away before you, or you may change your mind about who you want to include. If there are significant changes you want to make, creating a new Will is more straightforward than amending your current one. 
  • Establishing a trust – trusts are beneficial when estate planning, but many people do not take advantage of them when writing their Will. Revoking your Will can allow you to establish useful Will trusts that can have many benefits for your loved ones. 

Including Trusts in Your Will

Trusts can exist both within and separately from Wills. The trusts incorporated within Wills are known as testamentary trusts and can have several benefits, including avoiding potential sideways disinheritance.

Sideways disinheritance can occur when one spouse remarries after the first has passed away. Children from their first marriage risk being disinherited if the remaining spouse does not create another Will after their remarriage, and their children may not receive their inheritance. 

A Protective Property Trust can avoid this possibility by ring-fencing half of the family home’s value while allowing the surviving partner to remain in the home after the first partner’s death. Along with other benefits, including the potential to reduce high care fees, trusts can help protect your loved ones’ inheritance and minimise the risk of mistakes. 

Revoking your Will is simple – just write a new one! However, marriage also revokes a Will, which can catch some people out, and their loved ones may not be taken care of. However, this is easily managed with The Planning Bee. Get in touch with our legal team today to find out more. 

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