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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Succession: Wills: Revocation of a Will: By subsequent Will or codicil

A revocation of a Will may be express or implied.

Most Wills contain a general revocation clause by which the testator or testatrix (IHTM12001) expressly revokes all previous testamentary dispositions. A revocation clause may revoke all or only one or several previous testamentary instructions.

An implied revocation will arise where the later Will is inconsistent with an earlier Will.

Example

On Gary’s death, the intending executors find two Wills

  • A Will dated 16 May 1989 that contains the clause ‘All my goods to Adam’
  • A Will dated 16 January 2001 that contains the clause ‘All my goods to Barbara’

If the later Will did not expressly revoke the earlier, it would still do so by implication because

  • it contradicts the earlier Will, and
  • it is the later expression of the testator’s intention.

In this case Barbara would take everything.