Estate planning is important for people of any age. Some people in Colorado take the wise step of executing a will prior to old age. While this document may serve them well for many years, as the future brings new people and new experiences into a person’s life, that person may want to revoke their existing will and create a new will. However, there are certain requirements that must be met to legally revoke a will.
Under Colorado law, a will or a portion of a will can be revoked in two circumstances. The first is if another will is executed that either expressly states that the prior will is revoked or the new will is inconsistent with the prior will. If the second will does not expressly state that the prior will is revoked but the testator intended the second will to serve as a replacement to the previous will, the previous will is revoked entirely due to inconsistency. The second way to revoke a will is by tearing, burning or intentionally committing some sort of revocatory act on the will.
If a second will completely disposes of the testator’s estate, there is the presumption that it is meant to be a replacement of the first will. This presumption can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that the testator intended the second will to be a supplement to the first will.
If a second will only partially rather than completely disposes of the testator’s estate, there will be the presumption that it is meant to be a supplement to the first will. Only the provisions of the first will that are inconsistent with the provisions of the second will are revoked. This presumption can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that the testator intended the second will to revoke the first will entirely. Both wills will continue to be valid when the testator dies, to the extent that they are not inconsistent.
As this shows, while it is possible to revoke a will, it is important that the provisions meant to be revoked are clear. Any ambiguities could lead to a dispute between heirs when the testator dies. To avoid such consequences, those wishing to revoke a will may first want to seek professional guidance, so that their true intentions are carried out.