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California Probate, Will & Trust Lawyer > Blog > Probate > Altering Or Revoking A California Will

Altering Or Revoking A California Will


Estate planning is never a one-time affair. Life changes, and with the changes, comes the need to update your will. For instance, if you create a will and then get a new baby, you might want to include that new baby as a beneficiary in your will. To do so, you need to either alter or revoke your already-created will. Other situations that can make you think of canceling or changing a will include marriage or divorce. Such life events can change how you wish your property to be divided after your death.

You must understand how to alter or revoke a California will because failure to correctly change or cancel your will can cause confusion during the probate process. If you don’t accurately change or repeal your will, your loved ones might end up having to deal with costly court cases after your death.

Most states in the United States of America make it easy for testators to change or revoke their wills. One of the best options for changing a will in California is by creating an amendment known as a codicil. On the other hand, you can revoke a California will by creating a new will or destroying an old will.


When updating a will, a testator cannot simply cross-out instructions off their will and write new instructions. To successfully change your will, you’ll need to write a codicil, label it, and sign it.

It is crucial to note that, as much as a codicil can effectively help you alter your will, codicils make more sense when minor changes are involved. When dealing with significant updates, it is usually a good idea for a testator to revoke a will and replace it with a new one. Nevertheless, since no rules dictate when you should or should not use a codicil, consult a qualified estate planning attorney for advice.

Revoking a California Will by Writing Another Will

Most people choose this revocation method over the other. To revoke an old will through this method, create a new will that follows all the legal requirements. You can include a statement such as “I hereby revoke all former wills” in your new will to let people know that particular will revokes any other you ever created. However, such language is not a must. As long as your new will meets all the legal requirements and provides different provisions from those provided in your old will, it will revoke your old will.

Revoking a California Will by Destroying an Old Will

Revocation of a will through destruction can be done through obliteration, burning, tearing, or any other destruction act as long as the action is carried out for purposes of revoking the will. Once you destroy a will, it is considered canceled, and only the will you leave in one piece will be used after your death. Note that accidental destruction of a will is not considered revocation.

Contact The Probate Guy for More Information

If you need help with the creation, alteration, or revocation of a will, contact qualified California probate attorney Robert L. Cohen of the Probate Guy today.


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I love being a probate attorney. I love helping people through a very difficult time in their lives with the probate process. My practice focuses solely on probate matters. My job is to complete the probate process as efficiently and painlessly for my clients as possible. I have found that paying the upfront costs of probate adds unneeded stress, so I will advance all of the fees and costs for the probate. No money is required to complete the probate. I will be reimbursed at the end of the case when you receive your inheritance. Call me NOW to discuss your case for free.

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