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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Succession: Wills: Revocation of a Will: By marriage or civil partnership

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is still a general rule that marriage automatically revokes a Will.

S18 (1) Administration of Justice Act 1982 replaces S18 of the Wills Act 1837, which provides that a Will made on or after 1 January 1983 is no longer revoked by marriage if at the time the Will was made

  • the testator or testatrix (IHTM12001) was expecting to marry a particular person, and
  • they did not intend to revoke their Will by the subsequent marriage to that person.

The equivalent provision applying to Wills made in Northern Ireland on or after 1 January 1983 is the Wills and Administration Proceedings (NI) Order 1994.

The formation of a civil partnership (IHTM11032) will generally revoke a Will. But, as with marriages, if it appears from a Will that the testator was expecting to form a civil partnership with a particular person and intended that the Will should not be revoked by the formation of the civil partnership, the Will is not revoked. This is provided for in Sch 4 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 for civil partnerships in England and Wales and in Sch 14 of CPA 2004 for civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.