Changing a will

Changing a will

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This information applies only to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Changing your will

Once a will has been written, you may wish to change it for one of the following reasons:

  • To update it
  • To cancel it

Updating a will

You should consider updating your will in the following circumstances:

  • If your marital status changes
  • If you sell anything that is left as a specific gift in your will
  • If you buy something and want to leave it as a specific gift in your will
  • If you adopt or have any more children
  • If you move to live outside the UK (you are likely to need a totally new will in your new country of residence)
  • If the person you appointed as the guardian for your children needs to be changed
  • If your executors need to be changed
  • If you change your mind about the instructions contained in your will

For more information about updating your will see: When to update your will.

Cancelling a will

You may cancel a will in three ways:

  • Making a subsequent will containing a revocation clause or which contradicts the first will
  • By getting married or entering into a civil partnership, unless that will was made in contemplation of that marriage/civil partnership and you stated that the will was to continue to be valid after that marriage/civil partnership
  • Physically destroying the will

If it is the person's intention to cancel their existing will, it is best to make the position absolutely clear in the new will or codicil. A codicil is a document which alters the terms of an existing will.

For more information on cancelling a will see: Cancelling a will.