The short answer is, yes, according to section 22 of the Wills Act 1837 a codicil to will can revive a will that has been revoked if the codicil has been written in relation to the revoked will.
Codicils effectively create a new will that supersedes any existing will, starting from the date of the codicil. This concept can be difficult to grasp, which is why our wills and probate solicitors in Brighton and Hove always advise drafting a new will rather than revising one that has been revoked. Drafting a new will is always clearer and gives more certainty. Wills that have been revoked by destruction cannot be revived through a codicil.
Sometimes there is good reason to revive a revoked will, for example it better reflects what you wish to happen, or you may not have the time to create a new will. But it is by no means safe.
How to revive a revoked will using a codicil
When drafting a codicil to revive a revoked will, it is important that your wills and probate solicitor makes it clear what your intentions are.
It is important your wills and probate solicitor knows of any other wills that were made between the revoked will you want to revive and the codicil to will that you are making. These other revoked wills need to be mentioned in the new codicil so as to avoid any uncertainty about what your intentions are.
The codicil reviving a previously revoked will must make reference to any codicils that were included with that revived will. If you wish to exclude codicils attached to the revived will, then this will have to be included in the wording of the codicil that our wills and probate solicitors prepare for you.
If you revive a will that you partially revoked and then wholly revoked, then the will is revived in the form that it took when you wholly revoked it. This means that any part that you partially revoked will remain revoked unless expressed to the contrary in your codicil. Think of this like hitting the ‘undo’ button on your computer. Only one action can be undone at a time, unless you choose to undo everything.
Another option to revive a revoked will is simply re-executing it. This only happens on rare occasions because it is only advisable if you do not want to change the will and can only be done if there is room left at the bottom of the revoked will for you to clearly re-execute it.
Codicils to wills and will writing can be complicated at the best of times and as you’ll see from above, reviving a revoked will has its risks. If you are considering changing your will or would like to revoke a previous will, then contact our wills and probate solicitors in Brighton and Hove who can advise you on the best way to proceed. You can click here to navigate to our contact us page or call now on (01273) 726951.