One of the key characteristics of a will in Manhattan and elsewhere in the state is the document’s durability. Under most situations, when a person executes a valid will, it remains in effect until their death. However, certain situations can arise that serve to invalidate a prior will. In other cases, a testator can take actions that revoke the will voluntarily.
Understanding the means and procedures involved in the revocation of a will in Manhattan is vital to effective estate planning. An attorney could help to evaluate your current legal situation, determine if any recent life events have changed the status of your will, and work to revoke a will if that is your decision.
The Voluntary Revocation of a Will
In most cases, a will remains in effect from the date of signature until the testator’s death. However, authors of wills have the authority to revoke a will at any time.
Kansas Statute § 59-611 provides two methods by which a person may voluntarily revoke a written will. The first is to execute a new document that declares the previous will to be invalid. This may include executing a new will or signing a separate document that makes it clear that the current will is invalid.
The other method is to destroy the current will. The statute suggests burning, tearing, canceling, or obliterating the document as effective methods. While any of these options will serve as a way to revoke a will, be aware that this may leave a person intestate and with little say over the future probate process should they die before enacting a new will. Furthermore, revoking a second will does not automatically revive a current document.
Situations Where the Law Involuntary Revokes a Will
While most revocations are the product of the will’s author intending to change or withdraw a document, the law says that certain life events may render a will invalid.
The clearest examples are present in KS Stat. § 59-610. This statute says that if a testator, after making a will, gets married and has a child, that the current will is revoked as a matter of law. The same statute also states that getting divorced changes a will in a way so that the now ex-spouse cannot benefit from the will. These rules exist to reinforce the idea that a will serves as a way to simplify the probate process. A Manhattan attorney could provide more information about situations where the law automatically revokes a will.
The Revocation of a Will in Manhattan Requires Knowledge of State Law
The authors of wills have the right to revoke these documents at any point in time. However, many people do not realize that provisions within state law say that a will may automatically revoke after the birth of a child or a divorce. Because of this, it is essential to understand how to effectively revoke a will and the impact that state law has on this process.
Working with an attorney could help you to better understand the steps that you need to take and how to continue to protect your estate. A lawyer could guide you through the revocation of a will in Manhattan. They could also investigate whether a current will is invalid as a matter of law and work to restructure your estate plan. Reach out today to learn more.