Revocation of a will (Widerruf des Testaments)

Under German law, the testator may at any time revoke or modify a will or part of a will. A will or part of a will is revoked only by 

  • making another will that contradicts the old one.
  • making a will that explicitly revokes the old one.
  • destroying (e.g. burning, tearing) or
  • marking (e.g. by crossing it out) the document with the intention to revoke the will
  • in case of a notarial will: by withdrawal of the will from official custody

If revocation is made by will, the revocation itself may be revoked (e.g., by destruction); in this case the original testament is effective. The right to revoke a testament may be limited by way of a contract of inheritance or a joint and mutual will.

In case of divorce, there is an presumption that the testator wanted to revoke the dispositions in favour of the spouse. However, the spouse may prove that it was not the testator`s intention to revoke the will in case of divorce.


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