There is very little risk in making a will, as you can revoke it at any time so long as you are competent to do so. A lot of people revoke and replace their wills for a number of reasons. If you got divorced and remarried, you might want to revoke the will that left everything to your former spouse. If you had a child, or even a new grandchild, you might want to cancel your old will and create a new one that includes them. Some people simply change their minds about giving part of their estate to a particular beneficiary as their lives and priorities change. Fortunately, revoking a will is not usually overly complicated. It is still best to consult a lawyer to make sure that your revocation is effective.
How Can I Revoke My Will?
If you decide that you no longer want your existing will to control your estate, there are a few simple ways to revoke it. Once it is revoked, it will have no legal effect. It is a good idea to make sure that you have a replacement plan of some kind. In Illinois, you can revoke your will by:
Destruction – Shredding, burning, ripping up, or otherwise physically destroying your will is a legal way to revoke it. However, this may not be the best method. There could be a dispute over who actually destroyed it and whether it was destroyed purposely or simply lost.
New will – Simply creating a new will that is inconsistent with your old will effectively revoke your old will. The most recently executed will wins. Make sure you work with a lawyer to create your new will – this is the best way to make sure that your will is effective.
New will with revocation – You can also make a new will that contains language explicitly revoking your old will. This is a slightly more secure form of revocation than simply making a new will.
Separate revocation – If you are switching to a trust and no longer planning on using a will, this might be the way to go. You can execute a stand-alone document stating that you are revoking your will. There are formalities that must be followed when creating a revocation similar to the formalities you followed when creating the will, so this process should be supervised by an attorney.
You can always combine methods in order to back up your revocation. For example, you can write a stand-alone revocation and then toss your will into the fireplace or shredder. Make sure you have a new estate plan prepared when you revoke a will.
Call a DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyer
For help revoking a will or changing an estate plan, call A. Traub & Associates. Our knowledgeable Lombard estate planning attorneys can guide you through the process of canceling your will and creating a new will or trust. Call 630-426-0196 for a free consultation.