You can change your will anytime you want before you die. This includes the ability to revoke your own will. If you revoke a will without creating a new one, you will be treated like you never had a will and the rules of intestacy will govern. (What Happens If I Die Without a Will?)
It’s even possible for an old will to be revoked without you intentionally doing so.
Here are the ways a will may be revoked in Maryland:
- A new will that revokes your old wills. Most wills will contain a provision at the beginning that revokes all previous wills. If you keep a copy of your old will, you should mark it as revoked (for example, “Revoked by Will Dated March 3, 2015”), so that no one finds it and tries to submit it as your current will.
- Physically destroying your old will with the intention of revoking it. If you do this you should do this in front of witnesses and destroy all copies as well.
- Subsequent marriage and child. If you have a will, then get married and have a child (through birth or adoption), and your child or children survive you, your old will is revoked. Courts assume that such a drastic change in circumstances mean that your old will is invalid.
- Divorce. If you have a will and then get divorced, all provisions relating to the spouse, and only to the spouse, are revoked unless otherwise provided. The rest of the will remains valid.
If your old will no longer reflects your wishes, the smartest thing to do is get a new will that replaces your old will. This way, there is no time you don’t have a will. Also, the new will provides a clear intention of your desire to revoke you old will in writing.
If you need help with drafting a new will, or have questions about will revocation, talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer in Maryland.
Montefusco Estate Planning, LLC is an estate planning law firm in Frederick, MD. If you are interested in our services, contact us today. This information is written for the context of Maryland estate planning but is not legal advice for anyone. For more information, read our disclaimer.