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Revoking a will in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2019 | Wills |

Estate planning experts recommend that Wakefield residents create a will and other important estate instruments early on in their adult lives. Yet having said this, it is also recognized that much can change over the course of one’s life, and that their desires and wishes when they die may not be the same as those they held when they first created their wills. If you or a loved one are concerned about making changes to already-documented estate plans (and how those changes should be properly communicated to those who are party to the estate), not to worry; many have come to us here at the Curley Law Firm LLP with the same questions. 

The answer depends on the unique circumstances of your case. Per Section 2-507 of Massachusett’s General Laws, a subsequent will is said to have invalidated either certain terms of the entirety of an earlier one if you (or your loved one) include language expressly stating that. If you (or loved one) does not include such language, then the court will look at the scope of the subsequent will. If it addresses the entire disposition of the estate, then it is viewed as replacing the earlier will. If it does not, then the court will only consider those terms that run contrary to points addressed in the initial will. 

Yet what if yours (or your loved one’s ) beneficiaries need something more than just the words in a new will to believe in its validity? The law recognizes that the ceremonious destruction of a will (either by burning, tearing or otherwise obliterating) in the presence of witnesses also serves as proof of its revocation (even is a subsequent will is not offered up). More information on updating an estate plan can be found throughout our site.