Can a revoked will be revived and become effective again?

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2022 | Estate Planning |

In New Jersey, people who have taken the initiative and created an estate plan might want to change it as the need arises. In some instances, the entire will could be a revoked. This is often done by simply destroying it or having it destroyed under the person – the testator’s – direction. Still, there are times when a person revokes a will, then decides to revive it. To do so, it is important to adhere to the law to make certain there are no problems after the testator has died and the property is distributed to the relevant heirs.

How can a revoked will be revived?

People’s lives can change and they might make various decisions to alter their will or destroy a previous one based on those changes. For example, if there was a separation from a spouse with the intention to divorce, the will can be subsequently revoked because much of the person’s property was to be left to the spouse. However, if they reconcile after the testator wrote a new will and wants the old one to go back into effect, it is important to be aware of how this can be done.

When a will is revived after it was already revoked, it must be re-executed or done by a codicil (update) to revive it. Some people have written a new will to replace the revoked will. To revive the previous will, it is necessary to revoke the new will. If it is not, then it will not be effective and there might not be any will at all. To revive a prior will, there must be clear and convincing proof that it was the testator’s desire for that will to be revived and go into effect. When a will was partly revoked, it is also necessary to show that it was the testator’s desire to revive it.

Reviving a revoked will should be done exactly as the law requires

Creating a will is a vital part of estate planning. If changes are made or the will is revoked entirely and the testator subsequently wants to put the will back in effect, it can be confusing and a simple mistake can cause a litany of problems that are hard to solve after he or she has died. When crafting a will, updating it, revoking or reviving it, it is imperative to have professional advice throughout the process to ensure it follows the person’s wishes and is legal when the time comes for assets to be distributed.


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