Chapters

Updating, altering or adding to a will

Prior to the 2008 Wills Act you could not add to a will, and you had to add a codicil – a separate document containing changes, or you would have to execute a wholly new will if you sought to alter it. Section 18 of the Wills Act has changed this. With section 18 alterations require the signature of the testator and subscription of the witnesses to be made somewhere near to the alteration, in the margin, at the foot or end of the of the alteration, or opposite the alteration (s18(2)).

Alternatively, if the matter is complex, or an addition rather than an alteration, a ‘codicil’, a separate document with the change you want included, can be added to the will. Alternatively, it may be easier to have a new will drawn up to include your changes, if the changes are significant. If you have used a DIY kit, you may need another DIY Kit. If you have consulted a solicitor, you will need to again consult a solicitor, preferably the same one, in order to update, alter, or add to a will.

Stopping a will

As noted with the effects of marriage and divorce, these are two ways that a will may be revoked: on marriage or registration of a deed of relationship, or when a divorce is obtained (ss 16 and 17Wills Act). A will is also stopped when another will succeeds it. So, if Jenny executes a will in 1967, but in 2009 executes a new will, the old will is stopped by including in her new will words to the effect that this is her last will, and all other wills are revoked.

Re-starting a will

If, for example, you marry, register a deed of relationship or get a divorce, and your will or a section of it is revoked, then a testator has to re-execute or execute a will showing an intention to revive that will in whole or in part (s19, Wills Act). A will that predates another will cannot be restarted, where that second will states that it is the last will of the testator, and all other wills are revoked.

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