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How do I go about Amending or Revoking my Will in Florida?

The issue of a will’s validity is one that often arises in probate matters, or in the event that a client wishes to make changes to or rewrite a prior will. In Florida, there are several ways in which a will can be amended, revised or revoked—although such a revocation might not be intentional in some circumstances, while in other cases a person may take action they believe will amend or revoke all or part of a will but the action does not have the intended legal effect.

According to Florida Statute § 732.595, a will or codicil (essentially an addendum to a prior will), or any part of either, is revoked by a “subsequent inconsistent will or codicil,” even if the prior will is not specifically revoked by the subsequent document. However, if there is not a specific revocation, only the part of the will or codicil that is inconsistent will be revoked. For example, if you execute one will which states that your daughter shall inherit your Precious Moments™ collectibles, and years later draft a second will in which you designate your grand-niece as the heir to your figurines, the part of your previous will relating to the distribution of the Precious Moments™ collectibles is effectively revoked.

You cannot, however, revoke your second will and expect the first will to be valid. Florida law states that “the revocation by the testator (the person for whom the will is written) that revokes a former will shall not revive the former will.” § 732.508, Fla. Stat. This means that once a will has been revoked by a properly executed subsequent will, it will remain revoked even in the instance that the testator decides to revoke the second will. However, a prior will can be revived by taking the additional step to "republish" the prior will.

There are also times that a testator attempts to revoke only a portion of a prior will or later "amends" the will by adding different or additional language. The law and Florida Statutes regarding these issues will be strictly construed. A revocation can only be accomplished through specific actions. It is also possible that a later amendment would not be honored if the amendment was not executed correctly.

If this sounds confusing to you, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney with your questions. You should not attempt to draft a will or proceed with any legal matter on your own—there are too many ways in which your well-intended efforts could fail.

In addition to will and probate issues, our firm also takes on cases involving divorce, custody battles, relocation, domestic violence injunctions, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.
For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Attorney at Law

September 10, 2012
 
 
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