How Do You Revoke A Will?

There are a number of ways to revoke a will (see California Probate section 6420 et seq.). The simplest way is to draft a new will that expressly revokes the prior will. Other ways to revoke your will are to burn, tear, cancel, obliterate, or destroy the will with the intent of revoking it.

Divorce will also automatically revoke portions of your will. Unless the will expressly provides otherwise, if you get divorced after executing a will, the dissolution will revoke all of the following:

(1) Any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse.

(2) Any provision of the will conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse.

(3) Any provision of the will nominating the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator, or guardian.

(4) Other provisions of the will conferring some power or office on the former spouse shall be interpreted as if the former spouse failed to survive the testator.

If you get divorced and still want your former spouse to receive a gift or serve as executor, you must update your will. Indeed, if you get divorced, it is critical that you update your entire estate plan. This is one of those major life events that requires you to rethink your financial and personal goals and ensure that your estate plan reflects your new wishes.