Once you write and execute your will, you may eventually change your mind or decide that you don’t want the provisions to be set in stone. Fortunately, North Carolina law gives you the opportunity to revoke or change your will, even once it’s become valid by execution.
How to Revoke A North Carolina Will
When you write a new will and validly execute it under North Carolina law, your old will is automatically revoked by default. Nonetheless, you still need to be clear about which will you intend to control, as multiple wills can lead to distressing conflicts among family members about which one is valid and best represents your interests.
In North Carolina, there are two ways to revoke a will or a portion of a will:
- Create a new will or add a new provision to the existing will (called a codicil); or
- Burn, tear up, or destroy your old will (or direct someone else to do so) with the intent and purpose of revoking it.
In North Carolina, these are the signs that you – the testator – unequivocally intended to revoke a will. However, no matter which approach you take, it’s advisable to also communicate clearly to your loved ones that you are revoking your old will.
Special Considerations and Unique Circumstances
Keep in mind that if you’re divorced, the law will automatically revoke any language in your will that leaves property to your spouse or that names your spouse as the executor.
Additionally, there are different rules for “nuncupative” wills, which are made orally during a person’s last illness with two witnesses present. Under North Carolina law, you can revoke a nuncupative will by:
- Creating a subsequent nuncupative will; or
- Making a subsequent written will, codicil, or other writing executed in the same manner as a written will.
Be sure to consult your estate planning attorney if you have questions about the specific circumstances in which your will was created and executed.
Updating an Existing Will In North Carolina
If you’re generally happy with your will but want to update or edit it, you may do so by way of a “codicil,” an amendment or addition to a will which will be executed by way of the same formalities used for the original will. However, this option is most effective when the changes you want to make are extremely minor. It is best – and most clear and obvious – to revoke your original will entirely and to execute a new one.
Experienced Wilmington Estate Planning Attorneys
If you’re considering amending or revoking your will, it is advisable to consult an experienced North Carolina estate planning attorney to ensure you’re properly communicating your intentions to your family members. By doing so, you can rest assured that you’re taking steps toward avoiding familial conflict down the road, and can ensure your intentions and wishes will be respected and upheld. Contact Rountree Losee, LLP today to learn more about how our estate planning attorneys can help.