When you create a last will and testament in New York, it’s important to understand that you retain the ability to alter or revoke the document whenever you like. As long as you maintain your mental faculties you can revoke your will for any reason or for no reason at all.
However, revoking a will, like creating one, is something you should do carefully. If a probate court is ever asked to determine if your revocation was legal or intentional, you will want to make sure that there is clear evidence showing your intent to revoke your will.
While it’s possible to revoke a will by physically destroying it, by far the best way to revoke it is to create a new will that contains a clause specifically stating that any old will is revoked.
Revocation clauses are very common, and are necessary if you have created any prior wills. These clauses are usually very simple, but they must clearly state that by creating your new will you intend it to represent your final wishes and any prior will or codicil you created is no longer valid.
In the rare situation where you have created an old will and simply want to revoke it without creating a new one, you can effectively revoke the old one by physically destroying it as long as it is the only copy. If there are multiple copies you should speak to your estate planning lawyer about what you can do to ensure that your revocation will be accepted by a court.
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