Life is unpredictable. You never know what awaits you next. Writing a will is one of the most important steps of planning the future of your loved ones. But, in this unpredictable world, situations keep on changing every day. And, these changing situations might bring you to a point where you need to revoke your will as well. But, if you are in Florida, revoking a will is a bit complex process. You need to understand the Florida Probate laws and ensure you comply with the laws. A tiny mistake or a single missed-out thing can make revoking your will a tough nut to crack for you.
Firstly, you need to know the methods by which Florida Probate Code allows revoking the wills. They are as follows:
- By Writing
- Physical Act
- Operation of Law
Will revoker must strictly comply with the Probate Code laws while revoking the will.
How to revoke a will in Florida?
Now, let us know the 3 methods of revoking a will in Florida in detail. We understand you might not be aware of the legal terminologies. But, we have used very concise language here which will help you to understand the process with ease.
1. Revocation of will by writing: Please keep in mind, no partial revocation of will is allowed in the absence of compliance with statutory requirements.
To revoke a will in Florida by writing, you need to keep Stat 732.505 in your mind. The first point of this stat says, “A consequent inconsistent will or codicil, all though the subsequent inconsistent will or codicil does not expressly revoke all previous wills or codicils, the revocation extends only so far as the discrepancy”. In simple words, the changes you make in your will supplements the previous will.
Thus, the probate court tries to reconcile both the wills to the possible extent. Only the sections of the second will which cannot be reconciled are considered as revoked. And the outcome reflects both, first will and the second will.
The second point of this stat says, “By a subsequent will, codicil, or any other writing executed with the identical formalities required for the execution of wills declaring the revocation.” This type of revocation is a bit simpler as compared to the first one. In this type, usually, the estate lawyers specify the revocation of the first will by comprising a short line.
The specific line they include usually revokes the previous wills entirely. Thus, the complications of reconciling the previous wills with the new ones are eliminated.
While revoking the will by writing method, it is necessary to be specific. In case of any failures of will revocation, the reason for the same won’t be revealed until the person who has written the will passes away. And, then obviously, it will be too late to make the required changes in the will. Revoking the will by writing method is a complex process, and as mentioned above, you must be specific and careful. We highly recommend consulting a planning attorney. Let him review your requirements and process the revocation accordingly.
2. Revoking a will by Physical Act: In case, you wish to revoke the will by this method, you need to keep Stat 732.506 in your mind. The stat reads “A will or codicil, except electronic will, is revoked by the testator, or some other person as per the testator’s direction, by burning, tearing, cancelling, defacing, or damaging it with the intent of revoking it.”
You might feel, it is a straightforward process, but the reality is a bit different. It has to be clear & proven that the testator not only intended to destroy the will but also meant to revoke the will. Once the testator has passed away, how will you prove the fact that the testator intended to revoke the will?
In another scenario, if a person has destroyed the will according to the testator’s directions. Yet, after the testator passes away, how will you prove your claim? It even becomes more difficult than the first scenario. There are N number of cases where a person destroyed the will as per the testator’s directions. But, they couldn’t prove the claim and thus will is not considered as revoked.
And, Florida Law clearly states that destroying a will unintentionally doesn’t results in legal outcomes like revoking the will at all. There must be a will revocation intention and it shall be proven whenever required.
Thus, you need to keep in mind, revoking a will by the physical act is a very uncertain thing. And, you need to know every insight on it. We highly advise you not to take any step without consulting the planning attorney if you have thoughts of revoking a will by physical act. Revoking a will by physical act comprises several complications and only a professional can advise you the best.
3. Revoking a will by Operation of Law: Florida Probate law clearly mentions, if a testator gets divorced after executing a will, the spouse is excluded from the will.
Only, if there are certain conditions highlighting not excluding the spouse from the will, or if the judgement is passed such, the spouse remains a part of the will. Explaining the law, Stat 732.507(2) explains any provision of a will executed by a married person that directly or indirectly affects the spouse of that person shall nullify after the divorce or annulment of the marriage.
We understand, mostly, the decision of revoking the will is tough and extremely personal. But, it is necessary to abide by the Florida Probate laws to ensure a smooth and successful will revocation. While understanding and following every detail of the process might be a bit difficult for you, you can always consult with a Professional Florida Probate Attorney. You can use the contact number 727-235-6005 or send an email to the Law Office of Michael Heider and make the will revocation process smooth for yourself.