When circumstances change, your estate plan must change as well. Failing to update your estate planning documents may result in unexpected outcomes in the event of death or incapacitation. Does a new will cancel an old will in Florida? Read on to find everything you need to know about it.
Does a New Will Cancel an Old Will in Florida? – As Provided by Law
It is possible to revoke an old will by executing a new will following all the formalities required in Florida law. This new will must include a specific clause that invalidates the previous wills and codicils.
Florida Statutes §732.505 provides that “a will or codicil, or any part of either, is revoked:
- By a subsequent inconsistent will or codicil, even though the subsequent inconsistent will or codicil does not expressly revoke all previous wills or codicils, but the revocation extends only so far as the inconsistency
- By a subsequent will, codicil, or other writing executed with the same formalities required for the execution of wills declaring the revocation”
Does a New Will Cancel an Old Will in Florida? – Taking a Closer
Simply creating a new will is not sufficient to fully revoke a previous will. If someone dies with multiple wills in Florida, the court will attempt to reconcile to documents. In such cases, the result may be a hybrid between the provisions in the original wills and the later will.
Any provisions in the older will that cannot be reconciled with the new will are considered revoked. At the same time, the provisions featuring the same content in both wills remain untouched.
If you want to cancel an old will by creating a new will, you must use language to “expressly revoke all previous wills or codicils.” (Fla. Stat. §732.505 (1))
When drafting the new will, it is fundamental to introduce the document’s provisions with language such as “hereby revoking any former wills and codicils.” As long as the new will is properly executed and features explicit language, the court will not attempt to reconcile the provisions of different wills.
Revocation by Writing vs. Revocation by Act – Is Destroying an Old Will Sufficient to Cancel It?
Florida Statutes §732.506 provide that “a will or codicil, other than an electronic will, is revoked by the testator, or some other person in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s direction, by burning, tearing, canceling, defacing, obliterating, or destroying it with the intent, and for the purpose, of revocation.”
The same statute adds that “an electronic will or codicil is revoked by the testator, or some other person in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s direction, by deleting, canceling, rendering unreadable, or obliterating the electronic will or codicil, with the intent, and for the purpose, of revocation, as proved by clear and convincing evidence.”
In any case, the best approach to cancel an old will is to consult with an expert attorney to write a new document with explicit language to revoke the original one.