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When and How to Revoke a Will

If you wish to revoke a will and write a new one, there are several ways you can officially abandon the old document. You can tear it up, burn it or destroy it in any other manner — or you could simply void the will by adding an attachment noting that it is invalid. However, if that attachment were to go missing, there could still be some confusion if the old, outdated will is found after your passing, so destroying it is likely your best option.

Revoking a will means the document is no longer valid. Once you die, your most recent unrevoked will is the document your estate executor will use as your guideline for dividing property. If you die with a revoked will and do not have another updated will, it’s legally the same as if you had died without any will at all. At this point, your property would be distributed according to intestate succession laws.

Why would you revoke a will?

People typically choose to revoke wills if they have so many updates that it just does not make sense to use the same document any more. A recent divorce, for example, would drastically affect a person’s estate plans in just about every area, so it may make more sense to revoke a will and start from scratch than to go through the document and try to make individual edits.

You might also consider revoking a will if changes in estate planning and probate laws affect the validity of your will. Again, starting from scratch and ensuring every element of the will adheres to probate laws could be more sensible than attempting to go through and edit individual portions of the will.

Finally, to help your estate executor, you might also consider creating a list to keep with your estate planning documents of when you altered or revoked your wills. This list can help the executor determine which document is the most up-to-date version of your will if multiple versions exist.

To learn more about revoking and drafting wills and other key estate planning documents, consult a knowledgeable Orlando attorney with Gierach & Gierach, P.A.


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