In life, the one thing that is a constant beyond death and taxes is
change. So, if you created a will and now it no longer reflects your wishes, please
know that it’s perfectly normal for people to draft more than one
will within their lifetime. In fact, some people draft multiple
wills throughout their lives.
When life takes a turn or when things change, it can make sense to revoke
a will. There are several types of situations that can cause someone to
want to revoke their will. One can get married or divorced. A child or
grandchild can be born. A beneficiary can pass away in an accident or
due to natural causes. An adult child can become addicted to drugs, or
a parent can have a falling out with a son or daughter. All of these life
events can cause one to revoke their will.
If your old will is out-of-date for lack of better terms, you may be wondering,
“What’s the best way for me to revoke my will?” If you’re
thinking about tearing it up or using it as kindling in the fireplace,
think again. This is not the best way, nor is it the only way to revoke
a will. It’s merely a step in the process, but it happens later
than most people think.
Revoke an Old Will by Making a New One
If you want to revoke a will, join the club.
Lots of people do it. After all, few circumstances in life remain the same over the decades.
If your current will is no longer practical, the best way for you to revoke
it is to see an estate planning attorney and draft a new one. “But
what if I want to revoke my will, but don’t have time to write a
new one? Can’t I tear it up or put it into the document shredder?”
Let’s say you destroy your original will. Could there be a copy laying
around somewhere? Some probate courts will accept a copy of a will if
the suppliers of the copy have a good reason. For example, suppose an
adult child is cut out of his father’s will, so he destroys the
original. In such cases, if the man’s siblings can produce their
copies of the will showing the court that their brother was disinherited, the
may accept a copy.
Otherwise, if no will is produced, the decedent’s estate would be
subject to Tennessee’s intestate succession laws, and the disinherited
son would receive a portion of the estate – against his deceased
To be on the safe side, always create a new will before you physically
destroy an old one. Make sure the new will specifically revokes all previous
wills and clearly states your new wishes. Once the new will is drafted,
tear up the old one and every copy that was made.
Need a Nashville
estate planning and probate attorney?
Contact my firm for representation throughout Williamson and Davidson counties.