Working as a Tennessee estate and probate attorney, I get questions from people all of the time regarding some of the basic issues about my field. Many of the people that I talk with are often worried about specific legal technicalities in estate planning. There are a number of seemingly small actions that can have a large legal impact on a person’s legal documents and estate. I am happy to provide people with a basic understanding of the law and what to do to comply with it.
One of the questions I recently received was regarding the revocation of a will. This individual asked, “I have an old will. How do I revoke the will?” Fortunately, this is one of the easier questions that I get asked.
There are a number of ways to revoke a will, but one of the best ways is to create a new will. Often one of the first lines within a will includes a clause that revokes any existing wills or codicils. Upon executing a valid will, this clause thereby revokes any previous will that has already been executed. This can be important if you lose a will and the estate later becomes contested. By having a valid newer will that has revoked any previous wills, the probate court will obviously look to the most recent will in determining how to handle the person’s estate.