How to Revoke a Will
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How to Revoke a Will

There are a handful of situations where revoking a will may be possible. For example, life changes – like getting married, getting divorced, getting remarried, and having a newborn – may change how you wish to distribute your property upon your passing.

Whereas the reasons for changing your will may differ, it is important in knowing how to reflect your present goals in your will. Failure to appropriately revoke or modify your will can result in confusion and costly lawsuits.

In a lot of states, revoking wills are simple. Typically, you can revoke a will by:

  • Destroying your old will
  • Creating a new will
  • Making modifications to your existing will

In some cases, just giving away all of your property and assets prior to you passing away can have the impact of revoking a will (dependent on estate tax penalties).

Destroy Your Old Will

A commonplace way to revoke a will is to destroy it literally. You can set it on fire, tear it up, or put it through a shredder, so long as your intention is to destroy the will. This associated to whether you literally destroy it, or if somebody else destroys it, per your request, and in front of you.

To reiterate, state laws are going to define how a will can be revoked. Many states allow revocation by destruction when the testator “rips, rescinds, eradicates, or destroys the will with the intent of it being revoked” This usually does not include handwritten notes in the wills margins, or in which, for instance, a testator writes an “X” through several pages of a will. Therefore, a court might treat an inadequately destroyed will as though the will had not been modified.

You may think about destroying an old will entirely irrespective of any other means of revocation involved. Multiple wills usually results in confusion and the complete destruction of a previous will can help hinder debates concerning which document correctly reflects your wishes.

Create a New Will

Possibly one of the simplest ways you can revoke your will by just creating a new one. The new one should be appropriately carried out and reflect terminology that declares your desire to revoke all previous wills, like “I, by this action revoke all and any old Wills that I have previously created.” You can even use an online state-specific form to help you begin.

Make Changes to an Existing Will

The testator is able to revoke a will by making modifications to portions of a current will. The newly modified will, now referred to as a “codicil”, has the impact of creating a new will since it can modify key aspects of a present will, including new beneficiaries and property appointments.

Get Professional Legal Assistance Revoking Your Will

The incorrect revocation or alteration of a will can have catastrophic outcomes, resulting in confusion, litigation, and bring up the possibility that your wishes are not going be understood following your passing. An attorney can advise you on the correct ways to revoke a will, and make sure your objectives are clear to avoid any confusion that may result from an unsuccessful revocation attempt. Get a hold of a local wills attorney and learn how they can help guide you through estate planning with conviction.


  1. Staff, F. L. (2021, March 3). How to revoke a will. Findlaw. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from

Attorney Arizona

There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.

You’ve worked hard for your life, and you need to protect it. You owe it to your family and your legacy to take care of planning now. Contact Ogborne Law to schedule your estate-planning session.

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