Can I Cancel My Will?

WillCanceling a will is not easy, and if you want your estate handled appropriately, it is imperative that you go through the process correctly. In general, you are not “canceling.” Instead, you are revoking the will itself.

When revoking, you have three ways that you can do so. It is best to always consult with an attorney if you want to revoke your will, because not all methods apply to all estates.

The Three Methods for Revoking a Will

  1. Writing – A revocation of your will can be accomplished by writing that you clearly express your wishes to revoke your current will. Typically, a revocation in writing is done when you are replacing one version of a will with a newly drafted version. Therefore, your new will would include the revocation in writing and has a statement that all previous wills are considered invalid.
  2. Physical Acts – You can take physical action to cancel your will too, such as tearing or burning the copy of that will. However, this method is not recommended. You must show that the cancellation is valid, and destroying the presence of your will, without proper witnesses, could lead to contests later.
  3. Operation of the Law – Certain events and occurrences allow the law to cancel a will. For example, in a divorce, marriage, or the birth of a child and the child was not included in the new will would constitute a legal cancellation.

Do You Need to Revoke Your Will?

When you create an estate plan, you must know not only how to revoke that will, but when it is necessary to revoke it. Some large events in your life might make you consider a revocation. For example:

  • The birth of a child;
  • The death of a family member;
  • Acquiring valuable assets or property;
  • Obtaining a large sum of money;
  • Encountering a large volume of debt;
  • Permanently relocating to another country;
  • Relocating to another state;
  • A divorce or remarriage.

Often it is more convenient to only draft a new will addressing the changes in your life, then revoke within that will. There is less chance of a will contest if you make changes or amendments to your existing will too.

Should You Cancel if There is a Familial Dispute?

Some clients think that to avoid family disputes they can cancel their estate plan. However, it is not necessary to revoke your will just because your family is debating over its contents. Instead, you can add provisions or various provision amendments to correct any conflict issues.

Will modifications are inexpensive compared to drafting an entirely new will. Also, it could be as simple as your lawyer adding an amendment to the will regarding a particular provision.

The Drawback of Too Many Amendments

While you can do a quick amendment here and there, having too many attached to an estate plan could become confusing for loved ones and even the courts. Therefore, be cautious about adding multiple amendments.

Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney First

If you think a revocation is necessary or you want to learn more about amending your current will, talk to an attorney in Long Island that can help decide which is best based on your situation.

Call the Law Offices of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today at 516-605-0625 for a free consultation or contact his office online to get started.

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