Personal Injury, Probate, Employment, & Complex Litigation


How to Revoke a Will

When contesting a will in probate court you have to show the will being probated is invalid. There are several ways that a will is invalid, whether it was invalid at execution (either by lacking the requisite formalities, or being a product of fraud or undue influence) or it was later revoked. Today we will discuss the various ways you can revoke a will.

The main ways you can revoke a will is by subsequent will or by physical act.

The subsequent will is pretty self-explanatory, if you execute a second will that explicitly revokes your previous will then the previous will is invalid. If the subsequent will has a disposition provision different than your previous will, then the old provision is invalid, but the rest of the former will remains valid. The reason for this is because there is no mandate that a will dispose of all of your property, you can have multiple valid wills that together make up your estate plan.

The other way to revoke a will is by physically burning, tearing, writing out, or in any other way destroying the will. However, something to keep in mind, just because you destroyed the will doesn’t mean it is invalid, you have to intend to revoke the will (although if the will is destroyed there is a rebuttable presumption that it was destroyed with the intent to revoke).

An interesting and oftentimes useful provision, is that anytime a marriage or domestic partnership is terminated, all rights the spouse/domestic partnership had under the will are terminated and treated as if the spouse predeceased the decedent.