How to Revoke a Will in Australia

You can change or revoke your Will if you feel it’s appropriate to do so. Here’s how.
How to Revoke a Will in Australia

Ensuring you possess a Will is important. And if you’re here, reading this guide, chances are you already know that (and possibly have already written one). Your Will is important because it tells your loved ones exactly what you want, in the case of your death. Have a car you want your daughter to inherit? You can stipulate that in your Will. Want your partner to gain access to all your savings, except for a few thousand dollars you’d like to give to your son from your first marriage? You can stipulate that in your Will, too.

Put simply, your Will makes things easy, and writing one is a great way to minimise confusion and family drama after you’ve passed.

If I write my Will now, can I change it later on?

Yes, you absolutely can. It would be pretty silly if you couldn’t, given that relationships, assets and finances change over time. In fact, we’d recommend regularly reviewing your Will to ensure it accurately reflects your wishes.

What does ‘revoking’ a Will mean?

If your Will needs to be changed, you’re able to ‘revoke’ it. This means that your Will will no longer be valid.

You can do this by making a written declaration, physically destroying the Will, or by writing a new Will. However, you might not want to simply destroy your current Will – it’s important to always have something in place, just in case something happens to you.

Can you tell me a little more about each of the three ways I can revoke my Will?

Of course we can! We’re here for the people, of course.

Revoking a Will via written declaration

You can revoke your Will by making a written declaration of your intention to revoke your Will. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to:

  • Use your full legal name (yes, even the middle name you despise)
  • Write out the entire declaration
  • Include the date of the declaration
  • Ensure your declaration is signed by two witnesses. Make sure you include their full legal names, signatures, and the date they witnessed the declaration.

You should then store this declaration in a safe place, along with your former, revoked Will (if you are choosing not to physically destroy it). It might also be worthwhile making digital copies, in case your physical copy goes missing or gets destroyed.

Revoking a Will by destroying it, physically

This one’s pretty simple. All you have to do is destroy your Will on purpose. You can tear it up, throw it into your fireplace, or do something totally creative. It’s up to you. But it’s definitely worth noting that if any of your Will remains (think words, paragraphs, or parts of a page), there may be a chance that those clauses can still come into effect.

Our recommendation? If you’re planning on revoking your Will by physically destroying it, make sure you destroy the whole document. Don’t just poke holes in it.

Revoking a Will by writing a new Will

Yep, you can revoke your old Will by simply writing a new one (and when we say ‘simply’ we really mean it – because you can write a new Will via our online platform in just 15 minutes).

If you’re planning on revoking your Will, this is the way we’d recommend doing it.

Why? Because it means you’ll be replacing your old Will with a new one that covers everything in a way that best reflects your most recent wishes. However, it’s important to note that if your old Will is still intact and easily accessible, it could still be taken into account, especially if your new Will is challenged. So, as mentioned in the section above – physically destroy your old Will if you can.

Can I just edit or ‘fix’ my old Will? Won’t that be easier?

Well, you can. And yes, it might be easier. But it's a whole process usually called a codicil and if things go wrong, it can become problematic to decipher a ‘fixed-up’ Will. Our recommendation is to start fresh – because we hate drama.

Wrap up

Revoking your Will is super easy, which is great, because it would be annoying if it was difficult. Simply declare your old Will as ‘invalid’, physically destroy it, and/or write a brand new one detailing your adjusted wishes.

Writing a Will has never been easier. Write one with Willed in minutes.

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