Destroying or revoking a will.
There may be two reasons why a Will is destroyed; either accidentally or to revoke it. If your Will is accidentally destroyed, it may be that it can still be declared valid. However, you should always seek advice from an expert Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate solicitors to find out whether you should make a new Will if your old Will is destroyed.
It may be that your local solicitors for Wills suggests that you make a new Will in exactly the same terms as your previous Will to ensure that there are no issues when you die. Obviously, if when making your new Will you decide that you want to change a few or all of the clauses, you could.
If you no longer want your Will to be valid, there are a few different options.
You may decide that the best option is to make a new Will. Every Will should include a clause which revokes previous Wills that you have made. Even if one of our clients has not made a Will, our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors always include a clause which revokes any previous Wills or testamentary dispositions made by the Testator (the person making the Will). This ensures that any previous potential Wills made (even if you are not sure whether they are valid) will be revoked by your new Will, once it is correctly signed and witnessed.
You may destroy your previous Will. For example, you must burn it, tear it up, or otherwise destroy the original document with the intention that it is revoked.
The risk with destroying a Will in this way is that if a copy of the Will appears further down the line, it may mean that your surviving loved ones think the destroying of the Will was accidental. Another issue is that bits of the Will may be reassembled.
Can I instruct an Executor to destroy my Will?
Put simply, no. An instruction to your Executor alone to destroy a Will would usually have no effect. If you are unable to destroy your Will yourself, and you wish to destroy your Will so that your Estate passes under the Rules of Intestacy, contact our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors to find out what you should do.
What should I do if I think my loved one’s Will was destroyed incorrectly?
If you think that your loved one’s Will was destroyed incorrectly, you should first gather evidence of why you think the Will was incorrectly destroyed. For example, the pieces of the Will, if they have been kept together, or proof that the original Will was accidentally destroyed, such as a note left by your loved one, explaining the circumstances of how it was destroyed.
Can MG Legal help to revoke my Will?
When our expert Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors are instructed to help a person make a new Will or amend their previous Will, our team will always include a clause in the new Will which revokes any previous Wills made (unless they have made a Will in another country which the client wants to remain valid, in which case any previous Wills expect the specific Will are revoked).
There is no need for a separate Deed of Revocation, or a separate statement to revoke the previous Will; correct signature of the new Will in the presence of two witnesses, who also sign, will be sufficient.
If you want to destroy your previous Will after your new Will has been correctly signed, this is your choice; you may feel that it offers an extra layer of protection against your previous Will being used as your final Will once you have died.