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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Succession: Wills: Revocation of a Will: By destruction

A Will can only be revoked by destruction if there is both an intention to destroy and an act of physical destruction.


  • destroying whilst the testator is of unsound mind does not revoke a Will
  • a Will destroyed by accident is not revoked
  • if a Will is destroyed in the mistaken belief that it is invalid, useless or already revoked, the act of destruction does not revoke it
  • if a Will cannot be found at the death it is presumed to have been destroyed by the testator with the intention of revoking it
  • when a Will is found mutilated at the death it is presumed to have been mutilated by the testator with intention of revoking it wholly or partially.