There are many reasons why clients choose to revoke a will. Family circumstances change, financial situations change, even minds get changed. An elder care lawyer can help you determine when it is appropriate to revoke a will, as well as what happens next.
There are some common questions which go along with revoking a will, but one of the most asked is whether or not revoking the will revives a prior one. The answer to this question is “probably not.” When setting up your estate planning needs, your attorney will likely help you create a will. If you decide to make changes and create a new will later, the previous version is no longer in effect.
Where the confusion lies is if the later will is then revoked. Many people assume the previous version of the will is simply reinstated. This is often not the case. Some places are considered “no revival” jurisdictions wherein the earlier version is not automatically revived. Instead, it may be necessary to have a lawyer lay out options for re-signing or republishing the first will.
Estate planning law is constantly undergoing changes, so the best option for those and beyond is typically to contact an attorney to find out precisely what steps need to be taken to ensure your true wishes will be followed. While it may seem obvious to you what you want, keep in mind it can be far less clear to your grieving loved ones who are left behind.
Additionally, if a new will is revoked and a previous one has not been automatically revived, then the courts will need to step in just as if you never had a will at all. Even if you worked with an attorney to outline your wishes, without the signed, active document, your estate can end up going through the probate courts anyway.
For these reasons, and for simple peace of mind, it makes sense to seek out a qualified elder law lawyer to make sure all of your affairs are in order. This professional can help you create a legal will, as well as consider if other options are appropriate for your estate. Estate planning can be a rather overwhelming process, but a good attorney will be well versed in the law and will make sure you are able to have control over your own plans.