Garton & Harris

When a will needs to be revoked, changed or revived

Circumstances for people in British Columbia will sometimes change, necessitating a corresponding alteration or revocation of a will. At other times, people may want to revive a previously revoked will, re-establishing it as the effective will upon their death. Provincial statutes have outlined the specific way that these goals may be met.

In order to revoke a will, the testator may write a new will that will supersede the old one. The testator or a person who is directed to do so by the testator in the testator's presence may revoke a will by tearing it or burning it. In order to revive a will that has been previously revoked, the testator may write a will in which his or her intention to revive the former will is clearly stated. He or she may also draft a codicil reviving a will or a revoked portion in the presence of two witnesses.

Alterations to wills are allowed if the testator's signature appears next to the change. An alteration may also be effective if a memorandum is drafted and signed by the testator commemorating the alteration that was made. Alterations made to a will not made by the testator will generally be presumed to be invalid.

After completing the estate planning process, it is important for people to review their wills and other estate plan documents on a regular basis. If a life event has requires changes, revocations or revivals of estate planning documents, people may want to meet with their lawyer to ensure the modifications are completed in a legally sound manner.

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