Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Republication Definition:

The validation of a previously invalid will by express reference to it in a subsequent will or codicil.

A document which purports to be a will may be invalid for a number of reasons. It may have been signed by a person not of the age of majority or otherwise the will has a fatal flaw as to form; for example, a will with a single witness drawn up in a jurisdiction that requires that a will have two witnesses.

Often stated as the doctrine of republication, a void will can spring to life and be fully valid if at some subsequent date, the purported testator confirms the otherwise invaluid will by expressly refering to it in a subsequent and valid codicil or will.

In Halsbury's Laws of Canada, the authors wrote:

"Under the doctrine of republication, an ineffective will may be valid by a subsequent will or codicil that expressly confirms the ineffective will. The doctrine may be apply to validate a validate a will made by a minor."

In Theobald on Wills:

"(There are) two methods of republication. A will or codicil may only be republished (a) by its re-execution with the proper formalities or (b) by a duly executed codicil containing some reference to it. A codicil which refers to a will of a particular date does not republish an intermediate codicil....

"Obviously a will is republished by a codicil which states "In all other respects I confirm my will." But, in order to republish a will, a codicil need only contain some reference to the will; the codicil need not expressly confirm the will. Thus a codicil described as a "codicil to my will" republishes the will because the inference is drawn from this reference that, when executing the codicil, the testator considered the instrument referred to as his will and thereby confirmed it."


  • Clarke, J., Theobald on Wills 15th Ed (London, Sweet and Maxwell), page 93.
  • Rodrigues, G., publisher, Halsbury's Laws of Canada, First Ed., "Wills and Estates" (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2007), page 159.

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