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Revocation of a Will

Posted on in Probate and Probate Litigation

Illinois estate planning attorney, Illinois probate lawyerCircumstances change in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow is never a guarantee. Therefore, it is wise to have a will in place to declare what should happen to your assets if you pass away. If a will is already in place, it is important to revisit it on a regular basis and during major life event changes to ensure that the intended person is the beneficiary. If a change is necessary, it is important to modify the will. Occasionally, a life change occurs requiring the will’s revocation. Revocation ultimately changes the probate process.

Why Would You Revoke?

After the hard work you put into creating the original document, why would you throw it away and start again? Without the paper in hand, the document is no longer enforceable and is presumed revoked. For small changes, such as including property or removing names, the original documentation will suit fine after modification. However, there are instances where it is easier to scrap the original and start from scratch. Examples of when revocation becomes a viable option include:

  • Marriage to a new spouse,
  • Moving to a new state where new state laws are applicable,
  • Your family grows by a new child or grandchild,
  • Young beneficiaries grow-up and property management is no longer necessary,
  • Death of a spouse,
  • Beneficiaries are unable to execute the will (death, disinterest, etc.),
  • Loss of ownership of a significant portion of the estate,
  • Estate fluctuates in value, or
  • You make a living trust.

How to Revoke a Will

The revocation of a will can be as simple or complicated as you make it. The important piece of information to remember is to notify everyone who has prior knowledge and copies of the original will that their version is non-applicable. The best way to ensure the nullity of the original version is to create a replacement, including verbiage indicating this is the newest and most up-to-date and the other is void. Other ways to revoke a will include:

  • Destroy the original copy (paper shredder, burning, tearing, etc.), or
  • Attach a modified version of the will to the original, known as a codicil.

Consult an Attorney

If you are considering changing your will, believe someone may contest the will, or if you are the executor of the will and you are unsure of if the original truly was revoked, contacting an attorney can clear up the confusion. If you are interested in discussing your situation with a Chicago, IL probate attorney, contact the Law Offices of Anthony R. Scifo today by calling 847-628-8305 to schedule your free initial consultation.


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