There are many ways in which to revoke an existing Will. The most obvious one would be to tear the signed original Will, not the copy. This might seem to be a satisfying thing to do, however if a new Will is not created straight away, or if you lose the capacity to make a valid Will, then you die intestate. This means that if you die intestate, then the government legally determine what happens to your assets.

Another option is making a new Will, which includes a clause revoking all previous Wills. This can be done professionally or with a homemade Will.

Unfortunately, homemade Wills can create legal disputes, as they can be challenged or declared partially or totally invalid on a variety of technicalities. Some reasons may be that; they have not made intentions regarding gifts or beneficiaries clear enough, that they have not met the requirements by the legislation or that they lack capacity to make a Will.

To meet formal legal requirements they must include that there be a document signed and dated by the testator in the presence of two witnesses. For the court to dispense with all formal requirements of a Will must be certain that the deceased intended the document to be their final Will. This is sometimes difficult to prove.

It is worth notifying that throughout most of Australia, a Will is revoked on marriage and on divorce. There are exceptions to these general rules including that a Will can remain valid if it was made in contemplation of marriage or divorce. Divorce revokes certain aspects of a Will. Upon formal dissolution of a marriage, any beneficial gift under the Will in favour of a former spouse is revoked unless specifically contracted.

A person living in a de facto relationship should be aware that if there is no Will, current legislation may not recognise the rights of his or her partner in terms of the distribution of his or her assets. It is recommended that each partner make a Will to avoid costly legal actions.

If you find that you need assistance with making a Will or revoking a Will, contact our office, Lynn & Brown Lawyers on 93753411.

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