What is a Revocation Clause?

The revocation clause is almost always the first clause of a Will and it is also one of the document’s most important clauses. The effect of the clause is usually to revoke all former Wills made in all jurisdictions and it generally reads as follows:
“I revoke all my earlier testamentary dispositions”.

 Why is the Revocation Clause so important?

This clause is absolutely essential as it ensures that the Will being produced will revoke any former Wills and, once validly Executed, will be the Testator’s final Will and Testament. If the clause is not included, major problems may arise during Probate, which can be both costly and may, in the worst circumstances, entirely frustrate or distort the Testator’s intentions.

What if you have a Will or Property abroad?

If you have a Will or property in another jurisdiction (ie. outside of England and Wales) then the revocation clause needs to be drafted differently, as the Will needs to be limited to England and Wales. A separate Will for property in the foreign jurisdiction will then need to be drafted by a lawyer practising there. We are able to put you in touch with lawyers in a variety of jurisdictions if we are drafting your Will for you.

Not including this essential clause or incorrectly drafting it is a common pitfall amongst untrained and unregulated Willwriters – if this is not properly included foreign Wills can be unintentionally revoked or foreign assets may pass in accordance with local intestacy laws.

How does future marriage or civil partnership affect the Revocation Clause?

Marriage or Civil Partnership revokes a Will but it’s possible to draft a Will in anticipation of future marriage. This also amends the Revocation Clause, which is then drafted to specifically name the person to whom the Testator intends to marry in future. As long as this is drafted correctly, that specific future marriage/civil partnership, will not revoke the Will. 

We are often asked whether a specific date needs to have been chosen or whether there is any time limit as to when the marriage may take place. The answer to this is no; as long as the Revocation Clause has been drafted correctly, the marriage may take place at any time and shall not revoke the will of the Testator.

Will Writing Services

If you own assets abroad, intend to marry in future or, in any event, want to ensure that your Will is drafted professionally, then get in touch on 0345 222 00 22 or at info@goodwills.net

More information on Wills in general may be found here.