Wills are very important tools in planning for the disposition of your assets at the end of your life. It is a great idea to be proactive and to have a will early on. However, times change and so do your assets and your feelings about certain people. If you ever need to revise your will, then you may do so by talking to your attorney or revising by codicil (i.e. amendment). You may also revoke your will in various ways. This can bring up issues if you later intend to revive a revoked will, but it all comes down to what you intended to do.

How can you revoke a will in Arizona?

There are multiple ways to revoke a will in Arizona or any other state. However, each state has its own specific ways to revoke a will. One easy way to revoke a will is to make a new one and mention that you revoke all prior wills that you signed.1 You can do this simply by executing a will that revokes all other wills in whole or in part expressly by saying “I revoke all previous signed wills” or you can revoke the other wills by inconsistency. However, there are other ways to revoke a will in whole or in part. Whichever way you choose may have consequences on later reviving the will.

A revocatory act

In order to revoke a will by revocatory act you will need to perform the act with intent to revoke. A.R.S. § 14-2507(A)(2). If you yourself do not perform this revocatory act, you may ask someone else to do it as long as the other person does it in your conscious presence and by your direction. A.R.S. §14-2507(A)(2). This means that you cannot necessarily call up your lawyer and ask your lawyer to destroy your will. Your lawyer, or whoever you ask, will need to be in your conscious presence.

Revocatory acts include burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying the will or any part of it. A.R.S. § 14-2507(A)(2). These actions do not need to touch the words of the will to count as a revocation. A.R.S. § 14-2507. This means that if you burn a part of the will or cross some of it out but do not touch all the words of the will, it is still clear that you wanted to revoke the will. A.R.S. § 14-2507(A)(2).

Inconsistency

You can wholly or partially revoke a will if you write another will and it is inconsistent with older wills. A.R.S. § 14-2507(B). If your new will wholly makes a disposition of your property then it will be presumed that you wanted your new will to replace your old will rather than just supplement it. A.R.S. §14-2507(C). This presumption can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. A.R.S. § 14-2507(C). However, if the new will does not completely dispose of the new estate, then it is presumed to supplement and not replace the old wills. A.R.S. § 14-2507(D). In this scenario, both wills are fully operative to the extent they are not inconsistent, and the inconsistencies will be governed by the new will. A.R.S. §14-2507(D).

In order to properly revoke other wills with a new will, you should ensure that the new ill is valid and follows all formalities. This means the will must be in writing, signed by someone at least eighteen (18) or older, and witnessed by at least two witnesses in the testator’s conscious presence. If the will is holographic, then it must still be in the testator’s handwriting and signed by the testator who is eighteen (18) or older.

Find out more about Revoking A Will In Arizona from the experienced estate planning attorney in phoenix at Ariano & Reppucci.

[1] Robert Fleming, How To Revoke Your Revocable Living Trust, Will, Or Power Of Attorney, issues.flemingandcurti.com (Aug. 8, 2011), http://issues.flemingandcurti.com/2011/08/07/how-to-revoke-your-revocable-living-trust-will-or-power-of-attorney/.