A will is made to ensure your loved ones, after your demise, are protected and taken care of by your estate legally. However, there are circumstances in which the valid will may be revoked automatically.
Firstly, upon marriage or remarriage as it will be deemed that your priorities or feeling towards someone would have changed. To put it in simple words, the name list of your loved ones might have changed upon your marriage or remarriage. For example, you will tend to favor your newly married partner over someone else. The revocation of will may occur when such a situation happens. Section 12 of the Wills Act 1959 states that if a testator makes a will and then marries, his will is then revoked by the marriage regardless of the testator’s intention.
To avoid such circumstances, you are advisable to amend your will or make a new one after your marriage in order to protect your loved ones. If you failed to renew your Will, you will be deemed to have died intestate (leaving no Will). This is where Section 6 of the Distribution Act 1958 (the Act) comes into action where your assets will be distributed according to the Act after the Letter of Administration has been granted by the High Court or the Land Office. This kind of distribution might be contrary to your list of priorities.
However, there is one exception to this circumstance where there will be no revocation of a will if it is made in contemplation of a particular marriage. This exception was provided in the said Section 12 of Wills Act 1959:
“Every Will made by a man or woman shall be revoked by his or her marriage, except a will made in exercise of a power of appointment, when the property thereby appointed would not in default of such appointment pass to his or her heir, executor or administrator or the person entitled in case of his or her intestacy: Provided that a will expressed to be made in contemplation of a marriage shall not be revoked by the solemnization of the marriage contemplated; and this proviso shall apply notwithstanding that the marriage contemplated may be the first, second or subsequent marriage of a person lawfully practising polygamy. No will to be revoked by presumption form altered circumstances”
For example, if a testator said in his will “to my future wife, Miss Jenny”, then the will made is not revoked by his subsequent marriage provided that he married Miss Jenny, not anyone else. In addition, any divorce or separation does not revoke a will.
Secondly, a revocation of will occurred when it is physically destroyed by the testator who intended to really destroy it unless by accident or destroyed by a third party maliciously.
Lastly, conversion to Islam may revoke one’s will. This is due to the fact that the estate of a Muslim person must be distributed according to the Syariah Law, which is by Faraid distribution.