n South African Law Journal - Revival of wills - the Supreme Court of Appeal resolves long standing uncertainty : : notes

Volume 126, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



In 2001, our leading textbook on the law of succession, commenting on the decision of the Appellate Division in 1951 (4) SA 537 (A), stated with justification that '[t]he result of this decision is that the law is in an uncertain state in so far as the question of the revival of a revoked will is concerned' (see The Hon M M Corbett, Gys Hofmeyr & Ellison Kahn 2 ed (2001) 111). In particular, the Moses decision left unresolved the question whether it is necessary to re-execute a revoked will physically in order to bring it to life once more. This issue has now thankfully been resolved in a decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal in [2007] SCA 17 (RSA) (coram Brand JA, van Heerden JA & Combrinck JA), in which Brand JA delivered the unanimous judgment of the bench. (For a discussion of the revival of wills immediately prior to the Wills Act 7 of 1953 coming into force, see Corbett et al op cit at 110. In short, revival by a subsequent will was expressly provided for in the Natal statute and had been held to be permissible under the Cape and Transvaal statutes, all of which were repealed by the Wills Act.)

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