After a loved one creates a will, personal circumstances can change significantly, and the will that was created may need to be revoked. Your loved one has the legal right to revoke their will at any time, but will revocations can sometimes cause confusion and succession disputes. If this happens in your family, you need to know what to do to protect your loved one’s wishes and your legal rights.
How to Revoke a Will in Louisiana
Family relationships, financial situations, and personal priorities change over time. No one should be stuck with a will that doesn’t meet their current needs and desires. Therefore, Louisiana law allows a testator to revoke a will at any time by:
- Destroying the will. If the person who created the will, known as the testator, destroyed the will or directed someone else to destroy the will, the will is revoked. The destruction may be done by burning or tearing the will, for example.
- Revoking the will by legally executing a new will. The testator could execute a new will that revokes the current will.
- Identifying the will and then clearly revoking it in writing. This must be done in the testator’s own handwriting and signed by the testator.
Additionally, certain family changes may automatically revoke a will or provisions within the will, unless the will expressly provides for the change in family composition. For example, a divorce or the birth or adoption of a child after a will is created may revoke a will unless the will specifically provided for these contingencies.
In some cases, parts of the will, or specific bequests, may be revoked, and other parts of the will may remain valid. Also, in some cases, the revocation itself may later be revoked and the will, or part of it, may be followed after the testator’s death. Therefore, some situations become complicated during succession.
What a Will Revocation Means for a Louisiana Succession
A will is a legal document that explains what should happen to the testator’s property and who should care for the testator’s minor children after death. If a will is revoked, it’s as if the will never existed. Therefore, one of two things could happen:
- A new will may be followed. If a new will was executed after the previous will was revoked, the new will which was valid at the time of your loved one’s death should be followed.
- Louisiana’s laws of intestacy may be followed. In the absence of a valid will, the succession should follow the intestacy laws to distribute property. Additionally, the court will decide who has custody of any minor children.
The outcome of a succession may be very different, depending on which path the court must follow.
When There’s a Dispute About a Revoked Will
Since the potential heirs and beneficiaries are different and may receive different amounts depending on whether the court follows a valid will or the laws of intestacy, a dispute may arise as to whether a valid will was in place at the time of your loved one’s death.
Our experienced Louisiana probate lawyers will thoroughly examine all of the wills, documents, and other information that may impact your loved one’s succession. We will identify the right heirs and advise you accordingly, so you can go through the succession process confidently and with as little stress as possible.
Each year, our New Orleans succession attorneys help hundreds of families throughout Louisiana with the legally and emotionally difficult work of settling loved ones’ estates. We can anticipate problems and resolve them efficiently.
Contact us today by phone or through this website to learn more about your inheritance rights and how your loved one’s estate will go through succession in Louisiana.