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How do you show that an old will was revoked?

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2023 | Probate litigation

Ideally, estate plans should proceed without drama. Unfortunately, some families become embroiled in conflict over the wishes of a deceased loved one. This could happen when heirs fight over which copy of a will is the current one.

Crafting a will is not always a one-and-done situation. People update their wills for many reasons. Under Texas law, there are different ways to revoke a will.

Disposal of the old will

The physical destruction of a will can act as a legal revocation. However, you must destroy all copies. Otherwise, another beneficiary may get hold of a copy and claim it represents your true intentions.

A revocation document

A simple way to render a will obsolete is to execute a written revocation document. You must sign and date it while making sure the statement references the will you wish to revoke. This process follows the same formalities involved with executing a will, including having two witnesses sign the document.

A new will

Replacing your will with a completely new document should leave no doubt that your previous will is no longer in force. Still, make sure to include a clause that expressly nullifies any prior wills and codicils.

Add clarifying documentation

Additional actions may reinforce the current status of a will. You can sign a new will during a video recording or make a declaration on video establishing that your present will or revocation document is in force. Witnesses could also sign a written statement.

According to U.S. News and World Report, a person can visit with a notary and get a notarization for an estate document. Texas is one of 43 states with a permanent remote online notarization law in effect, making this option more convenient.

While preventive actions are not always enough to stop a probate contest, taking the right steps to abolish an old will may shorten the contest period.