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How can a will be revoked?

06 December 2023

Guide Wills

How can a will be revoked?

It is important to review your will regularly because the things that are important to you can change over time. If you believe that your will is not what you want anymore, you can revoke or replace that will. In this article, we’re going to look at how you can do that.

What is revoking a will?

If you have looked at your will and decided that it isn’t what you want anymore, you can revoke your will. Revoking a will is where a person ends the validity of their will. Validity is important because it’s how the law decides whether the wishes in your will can be carried out.

 

Revoking a will can be done in a number of ways – by making a written declaration, by physically destroying the will, or by writing a new will.

 

Let’s explore these three ways of revoking a will.

Making a declaration that revokes a will

The first way to revoke a will is to make a written declaration recording your intention to revoke your will. To make a declaration that revokes your will, you have to:

  1. Write out the declaration
  2. Use your full legal name
  3. Include the date
  4. Have the declaration signed by two witnesses, ensuring their names, signatures and date are recorded

Once you make a declaration revoking your will, this document should be stored in a safe place along with the formerly valid will. For safety, you can also make copies to store elsewhere. We offer Will Registry and Safekeeping Services for Victorians to make sure nothing happens to your will that might cause confusion after you die.

Revoking a will by physically destroying it

Physically destroying a will is the second way of revoking a will. To do this, all you need to do as the will-maker is destroy your will on purpose. This can be done by tearing the will document in half or by burning it.

 

It is important to be thorough as wills can be revoked in part. So, if you intend to revoke the entire will, it’s better to destroy the entire will document.

Writing a new will to revoke an old will

Writing a new will is the third way to revoke a will. A new will revokes and takes the place of any will that you had before. If an older will is left intact, it might still be looked at in certain circumstances, such as if your new will is being contested.  To avoid confusion, it is best to also destroy the previous will.

 

We typically recommend making a new will instead of trying to fix an old one. Fixing an old will can be tricky and can lead to problems if anything goes wrong. It’s often much better to start fresh.

Write a new will with State Trustees

State Trustees is an organisation that can help you handle writing your will. We also provide administration, trustee and estate related services to Victorians from all walks of life, and we are proud of what we do to help our clients make sure everything is handled the right way.

If you want help writing a new will or revoking an old will, you can do that by booking a remote video or in-person Will Appointment. You can also use our Online Will to produce a simple will document in as little as 30 minutes. For any questions you might have, do not hesitate to reach out to us by calling 1300 138 672 or fill out a contact form today.

Useful resources

Guide

Will writing guide

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Checklist

Executor checklist

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Guide

8 reasons to update your will

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Original artwork ‘Four Sisters Coming Together’ by Melissa Bell 2023