Estate planning is a wise step in Illinois. This is true for everyone whether they believe they have enough property to warrant it or not. It is especially true for those who have achieved significant success in life by building a business, accruing vast assets and having a well-funded retirement account. This can ensure their loved ones are cared for and their properties go where they choose.
Still, there are inevitable changes in life and people who have crafted an estate plan – specifically a will – may want to update or outright revoke it. There are many reasons for this such as a divorce, a new spouse, having children, changing careers and more. Knowing the law and essential points about a will revocation is key to avoiding problems and avoiding disputes.
How can a will be revoked?
There are multiple ways to revoke a will. Simply destroying in by various means is sufficient. That can include burning it, tearing it up, cancelling it and taking other steps to eliminate it. This can be done by the testator themselves or another person at the testator’s behest while in their presence.
It can also be revoked by creating and executing a later will that declares the previous will was revoked. If a new will is inconsistent with the prior will, this is sufficient to revoke the prior will. Or another instrument can be executed to declare the prior will is revoked.
A mistake people frequently make is thinking that a new life circumstance will automatically update or revoke a will. That is not the case. However, if there is a divorce, then the former spouse will no longer get the bequest as the will stated. If the testator wants the former spouse to receive property as part of the will as sometimes happens in amicable divorces or if there were children, they need to create and execute a new will.
Adhering to the law with estate planning can ensure wishes are carried out
A will is generally the simplest way to create an estate plan and people who have complicated assets might want to think about a trust. If a person wants to revoke a will, it is crucial to know how to do so legally and not create confusion with a new will.
Failure to legally revoke the will opens the door to disagreements among family members as to what the testator really wanted. This is presumably the last thing a testator wants. For advice with all areas of wills, trusts, living wills, powers of attorney and more, it is useful to have professional help.