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Does Your New Will Invalidate Your Old One?


As your life circumstances change, so should your estate plan. After a birth, divorce, or other major life event, you may want to update your will or create an entirely new one. While this is a very wise and responsible decision, creating a new will can create certain complications. Many people automatically assume that a new will invalidates their old one, but that is not always the case. Below, our St. Petersburg wills lawyer explains further.

Should You Create a New Will or Change Your Existing One? 

In some cases, you may not need to create an entirely new will. Instead, you may be able to simply add a codicil. A codicil is a legal document that changes a certain part of a will, whether it is an addition or deletion of part of the will, without revoking the original document. In most cases, though, it is recommended that you create an entirely new will instead of simply adding a codicil to your existing one.

Even if you do create an entirely new will, it is important to know that it will not automatically revoke your existing will. In fact, creating a new will may actually create problems in the future, particularly if it is inconsistent with an old will. It is important to be aware of any inconsistencies and to properly revoke your previous will if you no longer want any part of it to apply.

Revocation Through Operation of Law

 Your will may be revoked through operation of law. This is not something you can do yourself. For a will to be revoked through operation of law, it must contain something that is legally invalid. For example, if your will includes your spouse and you got divorced, the law would automatically invalidate any terms that included them.

Revocation Through Writing 

You can invalidate any previous versions of your will in writing. If you only revoke parts of your will, though, the probate court will try to reconcile both of them. On the other hand, if you state in writing that your new will revokes the entirety of your old will, that can be more effective. A St. Petersburg wills lawyer can include language such as, “hereby revoking any existing former wills” to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.

Revocation By Act

 There are certain acts that can revoke a former will. If you or someone acting on your behalf burns, tears, cancels, defaces, obliterates, or destroys an old will for the purpose and with the intent of revoking it, this can invalidate former versions of your will. If there is an electronic version of your will you can invalidate it if you or someone acting on your behalf deletes, cancels, renders unreadable, or obliterates the will.

Revoking a will by act requires you to take very specific steps. A St. Petersburg wills lawyer can advise on your case and ensure your will is properly revoked.

Our Wills Lawyer in St. Petersburg Can Help with Your Case 

Creating a new will can help ensure that your wishes are fulfilled, but you should always work with a St. Petersburg wills lawyer. At Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, our experienced attorneys can ensure your new will is valid and ensure any previous versions are revoked so your interests are fully protected. Call us now at 727-471-5868 or contact us online to request a consultation.



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