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Post-execution Considerations - Changing Your Mind

By Stacy Taylor Written on:



Suppose you make a will and later decide you want to do something different? Perhaps your circumstances have changed? Forget about making a codicil; the best thing is to start again with a completely fresh will. For one thing, making a codicil cutting down the entitlement of a beneficiary is asking for trouble.

Remember that on your death the will becomes a public document. If a beneficiary can see that he was originally left a bigger share of your estate, this gives him the opportunity to claim that a later codicil was executed under undue influence or with lack of capacity.

There are a number of ways in which a will can be revoked. Firstly, if you make a new will the previous will is revoked by operation of law. Professionally drawn wills always include a revocation clause.

If you have separate wills for English assets and foreign assets, care is needed to ensure that only the correct will is revoked.

Secondly, a will may be revoked by declaring in writing an intention to revoke an earlier will. This must be executed in accordance with the Wills Act.

The third way of revoking a will is by the burning, tearing or other destruction of a will either by the testator or by someone at his direction and in his presence with the intention of revoking it.

A will is also revoked by subsequent marriage unless it has been drawn up and executed in contemplation of the marriage and contains a statement to that effect. Divorce revokes an appointment of the divorced spouse as executor and also cancels a gift to him. In any event, marriage and divorce are two of the occasions on which you must take a fresh look at your will.


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see: Making a will - The Law Society. Please note that will making differs in Scotland and this website currently deals with English laFree Will download

 

Perhaps you might consider taking legal advice from a solicitor about making a will if any of the following apply to your circumstances:

 

  1. A number of people could make a claim on your estate when you pass away because they depend on yourself financially
  2. You want to include a trust in your will (perhaps to provide for children, to save tax, or simply protect your assets in some way after you become deceased)
  3. Your physical and permanent home is not in the UK and / or you are not a British citizen
  4. You live here in the UK but you have additional property abroad
  5. You own all or part of a UK business.
  6.  

see: Making a will - The Law Society. Please note that will making differs in Scotland and this website currently deals with English law.

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