Revocation of a will means the last will and testament a person wrote and executed previously should no longer be their last will and testament. There are a number of ways to revoke a will. The first is to tear it up and destroy it. The second commonly used way to revoke a will is to strike a line through it and write that it has been revoked. Often, the preferred way to revoke a will is to draft a new will that recites that all prior wills are revoked. In such instances, you can contact an experienced DC wills lawyer for assistance.
Regarding the revocation of wills, there is nothing different with DC from other jurisdictions. Often, the preferred way to revoke a will is by writing a new will that revokes all prior wills or writing and having a witness in a document that says that the person revokes all wills.
How a DC Wills Lawyer Can Help
What a DC wills attorney can do when someone decides to edit or to modify their will, is to re-cite in the person’s newest last will and testament that it revokes all prior wills and codicils. It is important to note that if a testator revokes a last will and testament, the last valid will may once again become the will in effect.
Showing You Have Revoked a Will
There are a number of ways to show a person revoked their will. The preferred method is often to draft a new last will and testament that it recites the revocation of all prior last wills. In addition, wills can be destroyed or a testator may also draw a line through the will and write that it is invalid to show that it has been revoked. Because of this, testators may want to proceed with caution before writing or marking up their last will and testament. The result may be that the will in its entirety or provisions of the will are deemed to be revoked.
Process of Revoking a Will in DC
There is no specific standard involved with revoking a will. Revocation of a will depends on the convincing evidence that a testator either drafted a new will or significantly marked up their will that, in essence, revokes the provisions of it. Clients are usually advised by their DC wills attorney not to write on their wills because it may cause revocation of those provisions or revocation of the will in it’s entirely.
If Additions or Revisions Aren’t Recognized by Witnesses
Usually, those additions or provisions are not considered to be part of the last will and testament. The unintentional result may be to revoke the provisions of the will that are in place. For example, a person’s will names a personal representative and the testator wants to change the personal representative so they cross out the personal representative and write someone else’s name in their will. The court may not recognize the new person written into the will, but they also no longer recognize the old person designated. It may become necessary for the court to find someone to act as personal representative because there is no clear authority as to who may act as personal representative.
Important Things to Remember About Will Revocation
If someone is going to revoke a will, it would be prudent if they knew the effect of the revocation. For example, revoking a will could have unintended results such as a default to the D.C. laws of intestacy or a prior signed will standing as the current last will and testament. Often the preferred method to ensure that all prior wills are revoked is to create and execute a new last will and testament that revokes all prior last wills. For example, if a testator destroys the original of a will, it may be difficult to prove that the will has been revoked rather than just being lost.
The DC wills attorneys at our firm do not typically create more than one original of a last will and testament for just that purpose. The problem occurs when the grantor intends to revoke that last will and testament. The testator destroys one original, but the other original still exists. There can be a question regarding the testator’s intent, and whether the original last will and testament still stands.