It is important to know how to change or revoke your will and to know what the effect marriage, divorce and other life circumstances will have on your will.
Once a will has been signed, it cannot be altered by crossing out clauses or writing in new ones. Such alterations will have no effect. The only way to update the will is by a codicil or a new will.
A codicil is a written document added to a will, which must meet all the formal requirements of a will.
Section 11 of the Succession Act sets out an exhaustive list of the means by which a will or part of a will may be revoked. These include:
a) A will made by order of the court;
b) marriage in certain circumstances; and
c) divorce in certain circumstances.
If you are making a will in anticipation of marriage, you should consult a lawyer. If you marry after making a will that was not made in anticipation of the marriage, you should make a new will, even if it is the same.
A divorce will not revoke the while will. It will revoke:
a) any gift to your former spouse; and
b) the appointment of your former spouse as an executor, trustee or guardian unless you express a contrary intention in your will.
A divorced person should not rely on the partial revocation provisions, but make a new will.
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