When a Floridian takes the responsible step to create an estate plan, it is not necessarily permanent. Life changes will inevitably happen and those who have a will and experience those changes should be aware of how to effectively update or revoke their will. For example, if there is a divorce, a family member unfortunately dies or there are disputes that warrant the will being changed, it is imperative to know the legal steps to revoke an existing will. When creating the estate plan or revoking it, it is wise to have professional guidance to ensure that the process is completed legally and there are no avenues for dispute.
The two ways to revoke a will under Florida law
Whether it is a will or a codicil (an addition to an existing will), it can be revoked either in writing or by act. When revoking the will in writing, the will or codicil will be superseded by a subsequent will that is inconsistent with the first will. It is irrelevant if the subsequent will or codicil does not specifically revoke the previous will. The revocation only applies to the inconsistency. If, for example, a property was going to one person and the inconsistency gives it to another, then the latter will takes precedence. Other aspects of the original will remain in effect. A person who goes through the entire process of executing a subsequent will or codicil will revoke the previous will when doing so.
A will can also be revoked by act. The testator or another person who is acting on the orders of the testator and in his or her presence can revoke a will simply by destroying it. That can include burning, tearing, canceling it or performing any other act with the intent to render it null and void. This does not apply to an electronic will. For an electronic will, it must be deleted, canceled, made unreadable or obliterated with the intention of revoking it.
Before revoking a will, it is important to have professional guidance
People who are revoking a will or codicil should be aware of how to do so legally. Failure to adhere to the law and properly revoke a written or electronic will or codicil can cause challenges later as there could be disputes as to which will is valid. With this and any other area of estate planning, consulting with those experienced in these documents is crucial and should be known from the start.