A will is one of the most important estate planning documents you can have. It provides your family members with the ability to know exactly how you want your assets distributed after you pass away and reduces the chance of future conflict.
Perhaps a time comes when you want to make changes to your will and want to revoke your old will. You can revoke a will in Georgia any time before your death, but it must be done properly.
Express and implied revocation
There are generally two types of revocation: express and implied. Express revocation occurs when you take an action that signifies you revoke your will, such as physically tearing it up or writing something on it that shows the revocation.
Sometimes rather than revoking your current will, you might choose to create a new will. If your new will meets all legal requirements and is properly executed, your old will is revoked. This is an implied revocation.
In cases involving implied revocation, you must make sure that your new will is legally valid. If it is not, the terms of your old will remain in place.
You do not want to create a situation where an ex-spouse receives a piece of property instead of a current spouse because you missed a step in the will drafting process, such as having it notarized.
The importance of intent
The intent to revoke is required no matter what type of revocation is involved. When you expressly revoke your will, the law presumes that you did it with intent.
However, evidence can be used to show that there was no intent to revoke the will. This commonly happens when someone is challenging a will.
For example, they could argue that although your will was revoked, you had been diagnosed with dementia shortly before revoking it and therefore did not have the capacity to form the intent to revoke.
Knowing if you properly revoked an old will can be tricky. The best thing to do is seek guidance in all estate planning matters.