A will is one of the most crucial documents someone ever writes. It represents a final opportunity to communicate their wishes to those closest to them. It says something about who they were, the life they led and the way they choose to be remembered.
Unfortunately, life changes can cause someone to reconsider their original plans. They may decide to rewrite their will — sometimes several times over. What happens if they leave more than one version of their will?
Why would a person have numerous wills?
Milestone life events often motivate someone to review and revise their will. Having kids, marrying and getting divorced are among the things that may prompt a new will.
Possibly there has been a severe falling-out in the family. The will writer might now want to disinherit one or more relatives. Maybe they deleted them, then changed their mind again and put them back in.
After many years, it’s therefore not uncommon for someone to have many wills.
Addressing this situation
A person having multiple wills is a problem that has probably happened more times than anyone can count or even estimate. Some information can help clarify what to do in this predicament:
- The will that is dated most recently supersedes all others. There is usually language in that version stating that the person’s earlier wills are void.
- A will must be legitimate in every respect and in full compliance with the law. If the newest will is found to be invalid, then an earlier one must be used instead.
- You might find yourself in a probate court dispute if you or someone else decides to challenge the most recent will. A will can be disputed only under particular circumstances, such as if a person wrote it under intense coercion from somebody or while in the grip of dementia.
Questions about a will
The best person to answer questions is someone highly familiar with wills and the law. Ensuring that everything is done appropriately so all goes smoothly is the outcome you want.