Life is not always smooth sailing and occasionally it throws us a curveball, and suddenly your Will which you put so much time and thought into no longer aligns with your wishes. Maybe you have had a change of heart, a falling out with a family member or assets have come and gone.
Luckily, your Will is not set in stone when you first make it and it can be altered or revoked (cancelled) regardless of what has happened in your life. As long as you still have the legal capacity to do so, revoking your Will is an option for you however, you need to be aware that once done, your existing Will is then nullified and no longer has any legal meaning.
There are three ways in which you can revoke your Will.
Writing a new Will
This is the preferred option when looking to revoke your Will as it means that as soon as your new Will is signed, it supersedes the previous but, you still have the protection of a valid Will should anything happen to you. By replacing your old Will with a new one which best reflects your current wishes, it ensures that you have continual protection of your legacy.
Should you wish to revoke your Will by written declaration, rather than by making a new Will, there are certain requirements that need to be met for the revocation to be held as valid:
- It must include your full legal name;
- You declaration is to state that it is your intention to revoke your Will made on (date) and it is no longer to be deemed a valid legal document;
- It must include the date the declaration is made; and
- It must be signed by you in the presence of two independent witnesses who include their full legal names, addresses, occupation and date signed.
It is then advised that your signed declaration be stored with the now revoked Will in a safe place. Given the above requirements, in most circumstances it makes sense to sign a new Will at the same time.
Should you wish to, you can easily revoke your Will by intentionally destroying the original. This could be done by tearing up the document, shredding it or even burning it however, you need to understand that should any part of your Will remain intact, the Court may hold that those words left still have legal meaning.
If you are destroying your Will, we would recommend that you destroy the whole document so that has no legible words or clauses.
We would always recommend to clients that should they realise that their Will no longer aligns with their testamentary wishes that their either consider making a new Will or, if there are only minor changes to be made, make a Codicil to amend the current Will.
Our Wills and Estates Team are happy to work with clients to ascertain the best steps forward in amending or revoking a Will and for more information, you can contact us at email@example.com or on 03 9614 7111.