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How do I revoke a will in California?

Everyone, regardless of their station in life, would be wise to have a will. However, often certain life changes may lead an individual to want to revoke a will they have previously established. How does one revoke a will in the state of California?

California has relatively straightforward laws relating to revoking a previously executed last will. Simply put, executing a new will automatically invalidates a previous iteration of the will. The individual who creates the will is known as the testator. A testator can revoke any iteration of his or her will at any time by physically destroying the document or by creating a newer will. A person other than the testator is also permitted to destroy a will if he or she is acting under the direction of the testator while in the testator's presence.

In addition, a testator who divorces or has his or her marriage annulled will see a revocation of the provisions of his or her will which relate to the testator's former spouse. Should a testator marry after creating a will, the portions of the document that would pertain to the new spouse are revoked unless the two have a pre-existing arrangement. California does allow for a will to indicate that there is to be no ongoing provision for a spouse who survives the testator.

The process of creating a will and keeping updated iterations of a will that reflect your life station and the ways in which you want your property to be distributed upon your death can be a complicated, ongoing task. A qualified legal professional with experience in wills and estate planning can help guide you through the process and iesure that your wishes and legacy are honored.

Source:, "How is a will revoked in this state?," accessed June 28, 2016

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