How Can I Change or Revoke My Will (Last Will and Testament)?

This is a relatively simple question that often results in many problems for testators and their families.  There are several ways to revoke a will.  First, you can destroy the will.  Take the time to burn or shred the will and do not simply writing void or scratching through the provisions. Second, you can draft a new will.  The new version of the will, by law, revokes the older will, unless you expressly state otherwise in the later will.  In this case, the later will is treated as a codicil.  That leads me to the third manner to revoke you will, by making a codicil.  A codicil is a document that adds on to your existing will, or makes modifications to it.  I generally do nor recommend a codicil, except in specific circumstances.  Typically, the provision of a will are very intertwined.  When you make a codicil to an existing will, it inevitably creates conflicts.  The codicil will control in the event of directly conflicting provisions between the two documents. However, many latent conflicts (ambiguities) can arise that are not completely addressed in either document. For that reason, I recommend drafting a new will.

Now, I want to give you some more practical advice.  When you create a will, store it in a secure spot.  Let your family or loved ones know where it is located.  If you move the location, let them know.  If you decide to change or make a new will, let your family know that you’ve updated your will.  Further, let them know that you have destroyed the older version.  You don’t want you family members to believe that their are multiple wills or to argue about which one is the effective or real will.  This is particularly important if your family or loved ones are aware of the older will and its provisions.  It is easy to imagine how this scenario can lead to disagreement among your heirs.  This disagreements too often end up before the court.


Jason M. Gordon


Generally, you should draft a new will to avoid ambiguities with your old will.  You should then destroy the old will.  You can change your will by executing a codicil.  It requires all of the formality of executing a new will.   Someone should draft a new will when they have life changes such as a marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, new property ownership, or moving to another state.


If you execute a will through Georgia Wills Online we will provide you with two free Will modifications over the next twelve months.


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