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Revoking a Last Will and Testament in Florida

You may find yourself at a point in your life where you may want to change your will or even revoke it entirely. If you have a will that you would like to revoke, there are several specific ways to make an effective revocation of the will. In Florida, the Probate Code offers you three ways to revoke a will: (1) written instruction; (2) physical act; or, (3) operation of law. To effectively revoke a will or codicil, Florida requires strict compliance with the probate statutes. Thus, it is important to follow the requirements for each method of revocation precisely to ensure that the testator’s wishes are carried out properly. The requirements are as follows:

  1. Revocation by Writing

Fla. Stat. § 732.505, states that:

“A will or codicil, or any part of either, is revoked:

(1) By a subsequent inconsistent will or codicil, even though the subsequent inconsistent will or codicil does not expressly revoke all previous wills or codicils, but the revocation extends only so far as the inconsistency.

(2) By a subsequent will, codicil, or other writing executed with the same formalities required for the execution of wills declaring the revocation.”

Please note: If the new will or codicil does not state that it revokes all previous wills or codicils, then the court will reconcile the different terms of the new will or codicil with the old will or codicil. If the court cannot reconcile the conflict, then the provision or will that was last written will prevail. 

  1.  Revocation by Physical Act

Fla. Stat. § 732.506, states that: 

“A will or codicil, other than an electronic will, is revoked by the testator, or some other person in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s direction, by burning, tearing, canceling, defacing, obliterating, or destroying it with the intent, and for the purpose, of revocation. An electronic will or codicil is revoked by the testator, or some other person in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s direction, by deleting, canceling, rendering unreadable, or obliterating the electronic will or codicil, with the intent, and for the purpose, of revocation, as proved by clear and convincing evidence.”

Please note: It is important to highlight that if a testator chooses to revoke his/her will by physical act, then the destruction of the will must be at the testator’s direction and in the testator’s presence. Both requirements are necessary for the revocation by physical act to be valid. Thus, a will cannot be revoked accidentally.

  1. Operation of Law

Fla. Stat. § 732.507(2), states that:

“Any provision of a will executed by a married person that affects the spouse of that person shall become void upon the divorce of that person or upon the dissolution or annulment of the marriage.  After the dissolution divorce, or annulment, the will shall be administered and construed as if the former spouse had died at the time of the dissolution, divorce, or annulment of the marriage, unless the will or the dissolution or divorce judgment expressly provides otherwise.”

Please note: If a testator gets divorced after executing a will providing for the testator’s spouse, then the spouse is excluded under the will following the divorce (unless the will or divorce judgment provide otherwise). 

If you find yourself wanting to revoke your will, please contact our law firm or a skilled attorney to assist you.