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Foreign Wills’ revocation clauses

In this article, we give an update on a High Court case we have previously covered concerning the Will of the late Harter Singh Sangha.

The deceased owned assets in the UK and India. His 2016 Will which dealt with only his Indian property stated, “This is my last and final Will and all such previous documents stand cancelled.” At first instance it was decided that this Will revoked all previous Wills including a Will covering all UK and Indian property.

On appeal the High Court held that the 2016 Will should be assumed to only apply to property in India and thus the previous Will remained valid as to the distribution of the deceased’s UK property.

A further appeal followed to the Court of Appeal which has recently decided that, given the inclusion of the revocation clause, the deceased intended the 2016 Will to be his only Will. The court held that to decide otherwise required evidence of another intention which the court did not have. All the deceased’s Indian assets passed according to the 2016 Will while the UK assets were distributed according to the intestacy rules.

The decision by the Court of Appeal seems to be more in accordance with the established law than the High Court decision. The advice for clients with Wills in multiple jurisdictions is always to be aware of the possibility of inadvertent revocation of another Will.

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