Revoking a will in Naperville is a straightforward procedure. However, if a revocation is not carried out strictly according to law, a court may find the revocation invalid, leaving an unwanted will in force.

To ensure that revocation of a will in Naperville is effective, it is wise to seek assistance from an estate lawyer familiar with the enforceability of wills. It is possible to revoke a will successfully in several different ways, but the law also describes several situations which do not result in revocation.

Understanding Wills

A will is a document in which someone explains how their property should be disposed of after their death. Since a will is often formally referred to as a “last will and testament”, the person creating the will is known as a testator.

A will may also name a guardian to care for children and manage property left to minors. In addition, a will usually also names an executor or personal representative who should ensure that the terms of the will are fulfilled in accordance with the law.

Wills do not need to be notarized or registered, although they do need to be signed and witnessed properly. Although wills may be amended, those wishing to make changes are usually advised to undergo the process of revocation of a will in Naperville and to create a new one.

Revocation Methods Set Forth in the Statutes

State statutes describe four ways to legally revoke a will. Under 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. §5/4-7(a), the testator who created a will may revoke the will by:

  • Burning, canceling, tearing, or obliterating the original document
  • Ordering someone to burn, cancel, tear, or obliterate the will in the presence of the testator
  • Executing a newer will that declares the old one to be revoked
  • Executing a newer will with terms inconsistent with the older will
  • Executing an instrument that declares the will to be revoked

Subsection (b) of this statute explains that a change in the testator’s circumstances does not automatically result in revocation of a will in Naperville, although a divorce has the ability to revoke parts of the will related to the former spouse. Essentially, the divorce causes the law to act as if the spouse predeceased the testator so that provisions granting property or naming the spouse as executor are ignored.

If someone revokes a will without creating a new one, the law acts as if a will never existed in the first place. Property would then be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession.

Revival of a Revoked Will

Once a will has been revoked, it is possible to reinstate that will. The process is referred to as revival.

To revive a fully revoked will, the testator must re-execute the will or execute a document declaring the will to be revived. This document must be signed and witnessed according to the same standards as an original will. A document establishing partial revocation of a will in Naperville may itself be revoked, which then revives that portion of the will.

Assistance with the Revocation of a Will in Naperville

While the law provides several means to revoke a will, there are examples of situations where a testator attempted to revoke a will but failed to satisfy legal requirements. For example, taking action to scratch out or obliterate terms of a will cannot be counted as a revocation if the acts are taken on an unsigned copy of the will rather than the original.

Individuals who wish to ensure the revocation of a will in Naperville fulfills legal requirements are advised to consult an experienced attorney for assistance. Although a will could be a simple document, the laws interpreting requirements associated with creating, changing, and revoking wills are complex and may be subject to strict interpretation even such interpretation appears to conflict with the testator’s intentions.