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What are valid reasons for revoking a will?

Posted on April 26, 2019

If you have a will or plan on making a will, you also should know the number of ways it can be revoked or cancelled. Most commonly, marriages, divorce and a new baby or family member, may change how you want your estate divided. In these cases, you may wish to revoke your will.

When can a will be revoked?

An essential part of having a will is understanding when it could be revoked. Life events where you may consider repealing your will include:

  • Birth or death of relatives and family.
  • Purchasing property, or new assets.
  • Acquiring large volumes of money.
  • Acquiring large volumes of debt.
  • Changes to your marital status.

How to revoke your will?

Laws in Ontario say that a will or part thereof is revoked when:

  • You enter a legal marriage.
  • A request to revoke your will is made in writing.
  • A declaration and intention to revoke is provided.
  • You burn, tear up, or destroy the will yourself or by someone else in your presence, after your direction to do so.

It’s important to bear in mind that there are strict legal requirements around the above-listed reasons for revoking a will.

Just writing a letter stating your previous will is revoked might not be considered legally valid. Setting fire to your current will to write another also may not comply.

If in doubt, seek advice

Without a clear understanding of how to legally revoke a will, you could run into unintended consequences if you mistakenly believe your will has been revoked and it remains valid.

Need help revoking your will? Don’t hesitate to call Epstein & Associates today to talk to one of our family law professionals to get an opinion on your next steps.


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