How can I revoke my will in New Jersey?

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How Can I Revoke My Will In New Jersey

For many New Jersey residents, creating an estate plan does not mean that it is finished and will never be changed. This is especially true with a will. People who are proactive and vigilant with being prepared for the future can draft a will to ensure their property goes where they want it to go and other areas of their life are addressed.

Still, as time passes, things change. Perhaps there was a divorce and remarriage, children and grandchildren were born, finances took an upturn or downturn or other events happened. In these situations, it may necessary to revoke all or part of a will. Understanding the law for will revocation is essential.

What can be done to legally revoke a will?

There are several ways by which a will can be revoked in New Jersey. First, the testator can simply execute a new will that will revoke the prior will by specifically stating that it does so or by being inconsistent with the prior will. It can also be revoked by certain acts. The testator can either perform these acts themselves or direct another person to do it. Destroying the will revokes it. Tearing, burning or obliterating it are examples.

When a subsequent will does not specifically revoke a previous will, the subsequent will’s execution will revoke the previous will, provided the testator intended to replace or add to the previous will..

Professional guidance can be critical

There are often disputes over a person’s property after they have died. The will and other estate planning strategies are designed to avoid acrimony and make sure the testator’s goals are met. However, when there are changes made to the will or it is revoked in full or in part, it must adhere to the law to ensure a new will is valid.

Multiple wills can cause confusion and lead to extended disagreements – exactly the opposite of what a testator is likely to want. For help with creating, updating or destroying a will, it is imperative to know the law and have professional assistance for the person’s goals to be met.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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