The concept of reviving a revoked will seems clear enough. But what is the difference between a revival and a republication, and why does it matter?
Revival means reactivating a revoked will. Note that section 19(1) of Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act requires a revival to be in accordance with the provisions of Part I of the Act. So an oral declaration that a revoked will is valid does not suffice. A destroyed will cannot be revived, unless the reviving instrument contains a copy or the terms. On the other hand, at Common Law, a codicil referencing an existing will "republishes" that will, furnishing evidence of the testator’s considering his will as then existing. And because the Wills Act, 1837 did not abolish the doctrine of republication, the principle still operates. Both revived and republished wills are deemed executed on the revival or republication date.
An attempt to revive a will that was never actually revoked may have the result of republishing that will at the time of the attempted revival. However, attempting to republish a revoked will not revive a revoked will, unless the acts of republication also satisfy the requirements of a revival (which include the form requirements of the Succession Law Reform Act. Specific uses of the doctrine of republication are discussed in detail in Macdonell, Sheard and Hull on Probate Practice, 4th ed., Rodney Hull, Q.C. and Ian M. Hull (Carswell: Toronto, 1996), pp. 116-119.
Have a good day,
Christopher M.B. Graham – Click here for more information on Chris Graham.