How does a probate attorney change or revoke a will?

How does a probate attorney change or revoke a will?

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Each state has laws governed by procedures for creating, canceling, and providing the last wills and testaments. A testator, who creates a will, typically has the authority to revoke it while still alive. Revocation after death is subject to a number of conditions. No matter if it was made jointly or solely by an individual, it includes the provisions of the will. So, let us understand what a probate attorney does when you want to change or revoke a will. 

Revocation of a Will After Death: 

A testator who forms a will has the right to revoke it by performing an act that clearly indicates their desire to do so. For instance, actions like ripping, burning, crossing out pages, and creating a new will are legitimate ways to revoke a contract. The will is still in effect if there is no unambiguous conduct after the testator’s death that indicates the testator intended to revoke it. No one will permit to revoke the will after the testator passes. 

Intestate Revocation and Joint Wills

Married couples may create a joint will. After the passing of a spouse, most states automatically permit the repeal of joint wills. After the death of the first spouse, a combined will might also explicitly prohibit changes.   

To find out if a joint will automatically become irrevocable following the passing of the first spouse or whether the will must contain special language to that effect, a person thinking about making a joint will should examine the probate laws of his state. 

Contests of Revocation and Will

A will that was valid when the testator passed away might be annulled by a court after his or her passing. This often happens when an heir contests the will and asks a court to nullify it. For a few reasons, a will become rejected by the court. For instance, a court can’t reject a will because of the heir. She felt unfairly treated and was not happy.

However, a testator’s will might be declared unlawful by a court if an heir can prove that the testator was duped into signing it. The will was deemed to effectively cancel it for the testator’s lifetime when the court declared it void after the person’s death. 

Force, fraud, and error

If the testator signed the will under duress or improper influence, the court might annul it. This indicates that the testator did not freely sign the will. The testator might threaten or take advantage of them when she signed, for instance. Legal flaws in a will, like a lack of witnesses or a date, are other instances of reasons to annul a will.

Below are the three ways that Probate Attorney does when you want to change or revoke a will.  

In three ways, a will can provoke:

  • Using the next instrument (called implied revocation or express revocation)
  • Nullifying the previous will
  • By virtue of the law

Method #1: Using a Later Instrument-

Does a new will nullify an existing one?

That question has a convoluted response. When you make a new one, your previous one will not instantly make it invalid and void. It is a good idea to add wording in your new will. That directly indicates your desire to revoke all previous wills. To make a new will that is wholly irreconcilable with the old one. In order to ensure that your old will was unambiguously canceled (aka implied revocation). 

There are no explicit statements in the will or codicil regarding your intention to revoke all earlier wills. The will also codicils when implied revocation applies. The court assumes that your earlier will was revoked if you had created a new will. If the following will is invalid, revoking a previous will through it will not operate.

Method#2: Total Destruction

How can you obliterate a will and render it invalid? This procedure requires that the will be completely destroyed in order to revoke it (i.e., it should be clear to anyone who comes across it that it was meant to be obliterated and therefore is not valid). A will can usually be destroyed in one of three ways: torn, shredded, or burned.

Destroying a will can be an effective way to revoke it as long as the original and all copies of the document are destroyed because it makes your intentions very apparent. To be extra confident that a will is revoked, you may even combine this procedure with one of the two methods outlined above.

Method #3: Revocation by Operation of Law

When a specific event, such as a divorce, annulment, or marriage occurs, the law automatically revokes a will; it is not a decision you make on your own. Since state laws differ from one another, it is crucial to research your state’s laws to find out how weddings and divorces affect your will. It is essential that you consult an estate lawyer if you are unclear.


Our law states that only a “will, codicil or writing, signed, witnessed and subscribed in the manner authorized for establishing a will” may revoke a will. Additionally, when a revocation document is present and eligible for probate. We have seen several different ways how Probate attorneys change or revoke a will in this post.

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