Theobald on Wills Top Ten Tidbits by Alexander Learmonth (Editor) Today: Revocation!

Publication Date

12 Aug 2020


1. You can’t make an irrevocable will! A contract not to revoke a will is not specifically enforceable – but breach can give rise to a claim for damages or a constructive trust. 

2. You can’t revoke a will just by crossing it out or writing ‘revoked’ on it – unless the crossing out is signed and witnessed as a will. 

3. You can’t revoke a will by asking your solicitor to destroy it for you – unless it is done in your presence. 

4. But a will that has been revoked by destruction cannot be revived. 

5. A later will does not revoke an earlier will, unless it has a revocation clause, or is wholly inconsistent with it. 

6. And a will is not revived just by the revocation of a later will that revoked it. 

7. A will is not revoked just by having been lost – if you can show it was made and at least some of what it said, you can admit it to probate! 

8. But if the last person to have the lost will was the testator, then it may be presumed it was revoked by destruction 

9. Even voidable marriages – such as where one spouse lacked capacity to marry – revoke wills. 

10. But divorce or annulment does not revoke a will! It just invalidates any gift to the former spouse.


Alexander Learmonth QC

Practice Areas

Trusts, Wills & Estates