Some estate planning clients first visit their estate planning lawyer after the client has created his or her own estate plan using do-it-yourself materials. For example, it’s not uncommon for a couple with a new child to come to an estate planning attorney and tell the attorney that they had, for the child, created their own last will and testament by using an online service or pre-made form.
Part of the process of creating a comprehensive estate plan is reviewing any old estate planning documents and making sure they fit your current needs. When people have an old last will and testament it isn’t uncommon for them to have to revoke it and create a new one. The manner in which you revoke your will is not very complicated, but you do have options in how you do it.
If you have one copy of your last will and testament you can revoke it by burning it, tearing it up, shredding it, or otherwise physically destroying it. Because you do not have to file your will with any government office after you create it, destroying the document effectively renders it useless.
Creating a new will that has a revocation clause in it is by far the most common and effective way to revoke an old will. The revocation clause is simply a statement in the new will that says all previous wills you made are now rendered invalid. As long as the new will complies with all state laws, the revocation clause will effectively revoke all previous wills.