Even when New York residents take the steps in drafting estate planning documents, that does not mean that changes will not be desired or necessary as time passes. In many cases, the person does not realize what must be done to change a will and does not go through with it leaving confusion and disputes after he or she has died. Knowing how to revoke or alter a will is imperative should a circumstance arise in which it becomes necessary to do so.
If the testator intends to revoke or alter a will, it can be done by destroying the original will. To do so, the testator can burn, cut, cancel, obliterate, mutilate or destroy it. This can be done by the testator. It can also be done by another person if it is in the presence and under the direction of the testator. If this is the way it is destroyed, there must be two witnesses to prove that it was done at the testator’s behest. Neither can be the one who did the acts to revoke it.
The will can also be revoked or altered if the testator makes an oral or holographic declaration that the will is being revoked or altered. This also must be established by a minimum of two witnesses. A holographic declaration – written in the testator’s handwriting – even if it is not executed and attested, will be a valid change of the will.
There are many instances where a testator will want to change a will and do so quickly. The above methods are effective in changing or revoking the will. For assistance, however, it is important to have legal advice to ensure that the new document is legal and enforceable. A law firm that specializes in helping clients with estate planning issues can provide advice in any matter related to a will.