Revocation of a Will


How Do You Revoke a Will?

Wills  can always be changed or revoked by the person who made the will. There are a few ways that this can be accomplished:

Revoke the Old Will By Writing a New Will

The most common way of revoking a will is to write a new will that expressly revokes a will that was previously executed. Virtually all of the wills we prepare contain a clause that states that the this is the individuals last will and testament and it revokes all prior wills. But what if the new will does not expressly revoke the old one? Generally, if the provisions of the new will, such as property distribution or appointment of a certain executor, are inconsistent with the old will, the probate Court will likely consider this a revocation of the old will.

Revocation by Physical Act

Revocation by physical act

In Tennessee, physically destroying a will revokes the will. If you decide to destroy your will be sure that you physically perform the act or that you direct someone to destroy the will. Set it on fire, throw it away, shred it - your decision. 

Be careful about writing over wills to revoke certain provisions. If you must mark out certain clauses or provisions in the will, they need to be done in your handwriting and signed by you somewhere on the paper. However, we strongly encourage you to contact an estate planning attorney if you desire to strike certain provisions in your will. Writing over certain provisions can create confusion and ambiguity.

Revocation by Operation of Law

It is not uncommon for a married couple that previously had wills leaving each other as primary beneficiary to forget to update their wills after the divorce. For instance, if you forgot to remove your ex-husband's name as the primary beneficiary of your estate, there is worry that your ex-husband would inherit everything. Rest easy. There is a specific Tennessee statute that says that your ex-spouse is cut out of the will should the will not be updated after your divorce. In practice, what happens is that the ex-spouse is considered to have predeceased you and will not inherit from you.

Remember to Keep You Will Updated

Remember to keep your will updated

If you want to revoke your will or simply make a few changes or amendments, we strongly encourage you to speak with an estate planning attorney to help you through this process. Attorney John Crow has helped clients throughout the Clarksville community and surrounding counties make revisions that greatly streamline and simply their estate planning process.

Next Up - Learn About Lost Wills

Your Legacy Matters

Your legacy matters because it is the impact you have on your family and community after you are gone. Your legacy is your story, it is what you leave behind. What do you care about the most? What are you passionate about? At Crow Estate Planning and Probate, our job is to protect what matters to you most. We want to make sure that the success you have had in your own life will be passed down to your children and generations to come.

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If you are looking for an estate attorney, we know the issues you face can be overwhelming and confusing. Our job is to make sense of it all. Please reach out and let us know how we can help you!