In the eyes of a law, it is good for individuals to have a will specifying how their assets should be handled after death. The legal requirements for creating a will are relatively simple to make it easier to create a will than to establish many other types of legal documents. However, because the law favors the creation of wills, it is essential to follow requirements carefully regarding the revocation of a will in Wheaton.

State statutes specify that a will may be revoked only in certain ways. Moreover, it is possible to revoke part of a will but not all of it, which could lead to confusion and problems discerning and fulfilling the intent of the will’s creator. For that reason, it is often advisable to work with an attorney when seeking to revoke a will in Wheaton.

Legal Requirements

The Probate Act of 1975 and related statutes set out the requirements for creating, amending, and revoking wills. Under 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. §5/4-7, an individual may revoke their own will in one of four ways.

Physical Destruction

Of the four ways to revoke a will, the first one described in the statute is the most physical. The testator—the person who created the will for the disposition of their own property—may revoke a will under 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. §5/4-7(a) by “burning, cancelling, tearing or obliterating it”. A testator may also direct someone else to take those physical actions on their behalf, but the destruction must be accomplished in the presence of the testator for it to be valid as a revocation of a will.

Revocation by a New Will

A second means of accomplishing the revocation of a will in Wheaton is to execute a new will containing a declaration of the previous will. Even if a subsequent will does not expressly revoke the old will, however, if terms in the newer will are inconsistent with those in the older will, the former will is revoked “to the extent” of the inconsistency. Thus, a new will may partially revoke an older will.

Execution of a Separate Instrument

A testator may also revoke a will in Wheaton by executing a document declaring that the will is revoked. That document must be signed and witnessed in the same manner as a will in order to effect a valid revocation.

Changes Due to Divorce

The laws specify that changes in a testator’s circumstances would not lead to the revocation of a will in Wheaton except with regard to divorce. If the testator divorces a spouse, then terms regarding a legacy, power of appointment, or interest granted to the former spouse are considered revoked.

Under 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. §5/4-7(b), the will “takes effect in the same manner as if the former spouse had died before the testator”. The same interpretation applies if a marriage is ended through a declaration of invalidity rather than divorce.

Revival of a Revoked Will

A revoked will could be revived, but the circumstances for establishing revival of a revoked will depend on the degree of revocation. If a will has been completely revoked, it may only be revived by re-execution or by the execution of a document expressing declaring the revival. This document must be signed and witnessed as if it were an original will.

If a will has been partially revoked by another instrument, the terms that were revoked will be revived if the revoking document is itself repealed. This revival occurs automatically when the document that caused the partial revocation of a will in Wheaton is terminated. An attorney could assist with either a revocation or revival of a will.

Revoke a Will with an Attorney’s Help

Revocation of a will in Wheaton may provide an easier means for you to draft a new testamentary document than adding addendums and codicils may. To ensure that your former will would not be regarded in probate, contact an attorney who knows the law today.