Call for a FREE Consultation

28February 20

How to Revoke a Will

There are many reasons why someone would want to change or revoke a will. For example, they may have just gotten married, had a new baby, lost a life partner or loved one, or gotten a divorce. You may also have seen the rapid rise of a business enterprise. No matter what your reasons are for changing your will, the process is relatively straightforward. In this article, we’ll discuss how to revoke a will in the State of California.

Revoking a Will in the State of California

There are two basic ways for revoking or changing a will in California. You can either destroy the old will and draft a new one, or you can create a new will which cancels out the old one.

Destroying the Will

One of the most common ways to revoke a will is by physically destroying it. You can burn it, shred it, or turn it into confetti. If you have someone else destroy the will for you, they will have to do so in your presence. 

 

It’s worth noting that you may not be able to revoke parts of the will by voiding them. In California, amending a currently existing will is not an option. The court may treat a will that has been amended in this manner as if those sections had never been revoked. 

 

In almost every instance, if you want to revoke a will, your better off destroying the old one first. A court would be forced to rule on whether or not the new will is valid and that decision may not always be to your liking.

Creating a New Will

You can revoke the old will by creating a new one. Logistically, this would serve the purpose of “destroying” the old will. In practice, it creates confusion. You will have to create a new will regardless of whether you physically destroy the old will. But to avoid potential confusion, it’s always best to destroy the old will before you draft a new one.

When Should I Revoke a Will?

There are a number of circumstances when revoking a will may be necessary. These include:

 

  • Marriage – You should create a new will when you get married. If you don’t have one, now is a good time to create one. If you don’t have a will, your assets would be distributed according to California’s rules governing intestate succession which would give your spouse a percentage of your assets not held in common. 
  • Domestic partnerships – California recognizes domestic partnerships to an extent, but if you want your partner to inherit your estate if you pass, then you will need to stipulate as such in a will. 
  • Divorce – Changing a will after you divorce is very important because the rules that applied before the divorce no longer apply after. If you want to leave your former spouse anything, you will need to specify that in a new will.
  • The birth of a child – Children are entitled to a percentage of your assets upon your passing, but not everyone wants to leave this up to the state. It is therefore important to have a plan in place that overrides the state’s rules.
  • Stepchildren – If your family is gaining stepchildren upon your marriage, they are not automatically entitled to your estate if you pass. You will need to specify what they inherit in a will.
  • Acquisition or disposal of assets – If you’ve acquired significant assets, you’ll want to change your will to manage them if you pass. If you’ve disposed of old assets that are included in the will, you’ll want to change the will to reflect the new circumstances.

 

Talk to a California Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you’re wondering how to revoke a will, the California estate planning attorneys at Herbert Law Office can help guide you through the process of revoking the old will and establishing a new one. Call today for more information on how we can help.

Request a
Free Consultation

What Our Clients Say

  • Friendly and professional.

    ~ Tomas and Mary C., Lancaster

  • Very friendly and easy to work with.

    ~ Michael and Carole S., Acton

  • Very helpful, easy to understand. Felt very comfortable.

    ~ Judy W., Lancaster

  • (Marc) was very helpful and professional … patient answering all of our questions with cogent explanations.

    ~ Terry and Nancy L., Palmdale

  • Very pleasant and staff extremely helpful … open and honest.

    ~ Steve F., Quartz Hill

  • Excellent. Pleasant and well-informed …you educated us.

    ~ Raymond and Lori G., Santa Clarita

  • Explained everything well. Always available when our schedule changed. Easy to work with.

    ~ Mark and Suzanne F., Lancaster

  • Excellent. Easy process.

    ~ Michael and Susan R., Quartz Hill

  • Very efficient … (we appreciate) your attention to detail, ability to explain documents in “plain” English, good response time.

    ~ Thomas and Bonnie G., Tehachapi

  • We just kept putting it off. Thank you for your patience … (and) one-on-one personal contact.

    ~ Rex and Denise H., Acton

  • Very pleasant, patient and accommodating. Great listener … (the) Antelope Valley community should be proud of having such a caring and wonderful person like you, […]

    ~ Hovsep M. and Anna A., Palmdale

  • Excellent. Very professional, great attention to detail, seemed to really care … (and) answered all questions.

    ~ Daniel and Linda L., Ridgecrest

  • Personable, knowledgeable, explains well. Very happy with the courtesy and expertise in handling our Trust.

    ~ Anthony and Susan C., Lancaster

  • It was an easy experience for a hard thing to do. (Marc is) very easy to speak with and made everything easier to understand. We […]

    ~ Bruce and Christina Z., Tehachapi

  • (You) were always following up to make sure we had all we needed. Great service … provided a lot of information.

    ~ Carlos and Claudia O., Palmdale

  • Excellent. Very informative …friendly … (and) explained things clearly.

    ~ Robert and Joan W., Lancaster

  • Marc was great at understanding our needs and he and his staff are so responsive in providing what we need, how we need it … […]

    ~ James and Linda J., Palmdale

  • (We appreciate your) thoughtfulness, friendliness and fairness to walk us through the process and helping set up a Special Needs Trust

    ~ Dale and Meryl Z., Tehachapi

  • Friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We enjoyed working with Marc. He took time to explain and answer all and any questions … (You) did not rush […]

    ~ Keith and Susan I., Acton

  • Marc took his time explaining everything thoroughly to us and answered the many questions we asked. We have busy conflicting schedules, so at times we […]

    ~ Sharron K. and Bonnie M., Palmdale

  • Very professional staff … (Marc’s) first hand knowledge of the law (was very important)

    ~ Janet B., Lancaster

  • Excellent learning experience … (we appreciate your) expertise in the field.

    ~ Danny and Diane T., Ridgecrest

  • (My experience) was quite relaxing and worry-free … (Marc is) honest and answered any and all questions that I had leaving me with good feeling […]

    ~ James G., Lancaster

  • Excellent. Very professional and on the other hand very open, which made covering sensitive subjects a lot easier. (Marc is) easy to talk to.

    ~ Wilfred and Julia L., Palmdale

  • (Marc) was very patient with (me) … (and) anyone with assets and heirs (would benefit from his services).

    ~ Marcy W., Leona Valley

  • It is not fun to plan for one’s death, but you helped us be comfortable. You were very considerate to our needs, especially when it […]

    ~ John and Diane H., Palmdale

  • You and your staff were professional, helpful and patient … We took a long time getting everything together and you helped us and were patient […]

    ~ Jerry and Gloria V., Palmdale

  • Excellent. Very knowledgeable and helpful 🙂 … Your office was very helpful and persistent in keeping in contact with us during a very chaotic year. […]

    ~ Christopher and Naomi E., Temecula

  • We were in good hands with Marc’s expertise through every step. He was thorough. We didn’t feel rushed. We know that you are working for […]

    ~ Randy and Rebecca T., Lancaster

  • It was a well-paced comfortable experience

    ~ Richard and Clara H., Quartz Hill

  • Excellent. Professional and caring … (I liked) being able to contact you to answer my questions.

    ~ Dwight and Paula C., Palmdale

  • It was a pleasant and easy experience working with Marc …. Everyone who believes they and their family will “be alright” without a will and/or […]

    ~ Don and Michelle W., Lancaster

  • Marc is friendly and easy to talk to, very helpful. Marc explained everything clearly (and) patiently answered questions.

    ~ Evelyn G., Lancaster

  • Everyone is so patient with us and our situation. You’re easy to talk to and share personal stories that help (us) think through (our) own […]

    ~ Michael and Sharon W., Tehachapi

  • Excellent. Easy, efficient and thorough. (Marc) understood our goals, (his) explanations were easily understood (and he) always returned our calls. Thank you for your help.

    ~ Richard and Brenda M., Palmdale

  • The estate planning process was about as easy as a complex process could be. We liked the personal connection we felt with you and the […]

    ~ Craig and Nancy M., Lancaster

  • Attorney Herbert, you explained every detail that I couldn’t understand and (were) very professional (and) patient.

    ~ Donald and Karen B., Palmdale

  • You and your office personnel were very friendly and professional. You provided answers and we appreciated the advice you provided. You were organized and were […]

    ~ Robert and Nilsa P., Lancaster

  • Your patience and ability to explain the legal processes in layman terminology was important to me. You are good at putting clients at ease, which […]

    ~ Harry S., Palmdale

  • Great. Marc always tried to work with our schedules (and) promptly returned our calls. (We liked) your patience in all our many questions.

    ~ Larry and Lane R., Acton

  • (Our experience was) very pleasant … (we appreciate) your availability.

    ~ Cliff and Debbie B., Palmdale

  • We felt an immediate comfortable bond … I had interviewed 7 attorneys before you. You were always kind and respectful and explained everything so I […]

    ~ Alan and Susan S., Lancaster

  • Excellent. You also handled my Mom’s Trust … Marc is willing to take the time to talk with me. Thank you.

    ~ James and Johanna M., Palmdale

  • Marc is very professional and quick … (with) friendliness (and) good atmosphere.

    ~ Michael and Cheryl Y., Palmdale

  • Marc went above and beyond to ensure we understood every detail … We appreciated his patience and knowledge as well as being flexible with our […]

    ~ Russ and Lucy T., Acton

  • Just a sincere note of thanks to you for the extended journey toward my estate plan and for all your guidance and help … The […]

    ~ Carolyn H., Quartz Hill

  • The whole process was a great experience. The outcome was excellent.

    ~ Michael and Cynthia M., North Edwards

  • Excellent. You did a fantastic job getting back to us in a timely manner even through we were pretty slow on our end … My […]

    ~ Robert and Gina S., Palmdale

  • Thank you for being so patient and clarifying everything on my estate plan

    ~ Kathy H., Palmdale

  • I want to thank you for everything you did to help me. I will gladly recommend you to anyone.

    ~ Sue S., Quartz Hill

  • We appreciate your integrity and honesty. I will recommend you to all my friends.

    ~ Paul and Cheryl S., Lancaster

  • I just wanted to say thank you for all you have done. I will highly recommend your legal

    services to anyone looking for a great […]

    ~ Kelly C., Palmdale

  • Words cannot express how grateful I am to you.

    ~ Kim D., Acton

  • Thank you so much.

    ~ Mike R., Lancaster

  • We th good counsel.

    ~ John and Julie K., Lancaster

  • Thank you so much. I really appreciate your help.

    ~ Amy K., Quartz Hill

  • Just want to say thank you for all of your help and your time. May God bless you.

    ~ Scott D., Palmdale

  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Oh, and thank you again!

    ~ Chris B., Quartz Hill

  • What else can I say? Thank you big time. We are so appreciative. You deserve our sincere gratitude!

    ~ Mark and Pam B., Lancaster