Most people know that it is not ideal to die without leaving behind a will. However, fewer people understand that leaving behind multiple wills can also be a major concern in estate planning – and a problem that can derail even your best laid plans.
While there are limited circumstances in which multiple wills can be complimentary, useful, appropriate, and valid, such as when an individual has property in multiple countries and wills in each of those countries, multiple wills within the United States are almost never a good thing.
What Happens When There is More Than One Will?
It is normal to write multiple wills during your lifetime: you may change your mind about how to distribute your assets, your family dynamics may change, or your general life situation could change. In most cases, your most recent will document will contain a clause that revokes all past wills. However, in some instances, multiple wills are considered and contested in court, which can be a long, complicated, and expensive process.
Two existing wills could be pitted against each other in court if:
- The most recent will does not revoke past wills.
- The most recent will was not properly executed.
- The most recent will may have been wrongfully influenced by a beneficiary.
- The most recent will was written when the testator was not of sound mind.
- It is unclear which will is the most recent will.
- Multiple versions of the same will exist.
How to Avoid Contested or Challenged Wills
The solution to avoiding multiple wills is not to avoid ever updating or rewriting your will – you simply must be extremely careful about making clear which version of your will is most recent and which will is valid. A California will and trust lawyer can help you:
- Make certain your newest will revokes all other wills.
- Make certain your older wills are destroyed and/or voided.
- Make certain your will accurately reflects all of your wishes.
- Make certain your will is properly executed in all other ways.
Get Professional Legal Help For Your Last Will & Testament in California
At The Law Office of Janet Brewer, we take a number of steps to ensure that your will and other estate planning documents are valid under California law and that they will not be contested or challenged after your death. Even if you have multiple surviving wills at the time of your passing, we will draw up your will so that it is clear that all prior wills have been revoked.
Write your will with the help of an experienced Silicon Valley estate planner, and get peace of mind that your wishes will be heeded after your death. To learn more about drawing up a will in California, or to schedule your appointment with a CA estate planning attorney, please call The Law Office of Janet Brewer today: (650) 325-8276.
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