Does a second will invalidate the first?
In some cases, individuals will execute more than one Will. In these scenarios, a subsequent Will will take precedence and even sometimes completely nullify the first. It is a requirement that the testator declares all previous Wills invalid if they choose to execute a subsequent one. If the testator executes a subsequent will but does not specify that they revoke the other ones, then this revocation will be assumed. A subsequent Will typically revokes only the provisions that are inconsistent with the new Will. In cases where the subsequent Will is completely inconsistent with the first, then the first Will will usually be completely revoked by implication.
It is also important for a testator to revoke all codicils if they intend to execute a new Will with different provisions. Codicils are any amendments to a Will that require the signatures of the testator and witnesses in order to be considered valid. If a Will is not revoked, then the only provisions that will be revoked are those that are inconsistent with the first. However, a testator may fail to declare revocation of a first Will or they may be unable to do so.
How to Revoke a Will
If a testator wishes to revoke their Will for any reason, they may physically destroy it. Destruction of a Will can be accomplished by burning it, tearing it up, crossing it out or otherwise destroying it. Testators may also be able to void the Will by writing an attachment to the Will stating that it is invalid. The reasons why an individual would revoke a Will are various. If the testator has had major changes in their life or circumstances, then they may wish to revoke their Will. Revoking a Will may be difficult in some circumstances. If the testator's soundness of mind (testamentary capacity) is called into question, then their destroying or revoking of a Will may not be considered valid.
You may be questioning the validity of a subsequent Will or you might know of a subsequent Will that is not being considered. Upon death, the testator's most recent unrevoked Will is what determines how their property is divided. For this reason, it is paramount to make sure that the Will being used for property distribution is valid and was executed correctly. If you would like to discuss an issue of a subsequent Will with an experienced attorney, then contact Domina Law Group. We can answer the major Will, trust and probate questions that you have. We always seek to provide our clients with the case necessary to see that they get what they rightfully deserve. Don't hesitate to contact our Will contest attorneys today!