What should you do if you have a Last Will and Testament that you wish to change or revoke? One frequent mistake is to simply write the words “Revoked” on the document; however, that may not accomplish what you intend it to – in fact, it may not accomplish anything. Understanding why you should never write on your Will is important.
Your Last Will and Testament typically serves as the foundation for a comprehensive estate plan. Like most legal documents, your Will should be reviewed and revised on a regular basis. Keep in mind, this needs to be accomplished with the assistance of an attorney and any changes should always be witnessed. Your Will is not like many other legal documents where simply crossing something out and initialing the change will suffice. In fact, as a general rule, anything you write on your Will will likely be ignored should the issue end up in court – which it likely will. So why is it so important not to write on your Will?
Why You Shouldn’t Write on You Will
Simple. Should someone question the authenticity of something you wrote on your Will, you will no longer be here to respond to the accusations. How can you clarify what you meant by whatever it was you wrote if you’ve passed away? You can’t. This is precisely why the execution of your Last Will and Testament must be witnessed by an unbiased witness.
Requiring a Will to be witnessed is the only way to be sure the Testator actually signed the document. If, however, you write on the document after the fact there is no sure way to determine if you actually wrote the words or if a third party took the liberty after your death. Writing “revoked” on your Will is, therefore, a sure fire way to land your estate in litigation. Someone will almost certainly claim you did not intend to revoke your Will and that the writing on the document is not yours. If the court declares the Will to be revoked, your estate may end up being handled as an intestate estate. This could end with a very different distribution of your assets than you intended in your Will.
How to Properly Change or Revoke a Will
All of this to say, you should never try to revoke or change a Will by yourself! Writing on the Will can be especially damaging. If you do truly intend to change something in your Last Will and Testament, or even revoke it entirely, meet with an Texas estate planning attorney. Furthermore, make the changes or the revocation the right way, in front of witnesses. This will help ensure that your estate doesn’t wind up in costly litigation after your death. You do not want to cost your family dearly to save a bit of time and money now. It is not worth it.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your Texas estate plan, contact the experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. by calling 281-759-3213 to schedule your appointment today.