How To Change Or Revoke Your Will

To change your will, you can make what is called a “codicil.” A codicil is an addition or change to your will in which you add to, take from, or alter what the original will says.

You can also decide that you want to terminate your will entirely. This is called “revoking” your will. There are three main ways to revoke a will:

  • Make a new will, following all the rules for creating and signing a valid will, as long as you still have the mental capacity to create a new will.
  • Write something that clearly shows that you want to revoke your will. You must follow all the rules for creating and signing a valid will and have the mental capacity to revoke the old will. Usually when people revoke their will this way, they also make a new will at the same time.
  • Physically destroy the will. If you burn, tear, cut, obliterate, cancel, or otherwise mutilate your will, it is considered revoked. You can also instruct another person to physically destroy your will, but it must be done with you there and also in front of two witnesses. It is essential to destroy the former will as it can be a major problem to have multiple wills existing when a person dies.

Legal Editor: Gary Elias, March 2015 (updated July 2020)

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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