How Do I Revoke or Cancel My Estate Planning Documents?

Lots of clients bring their old Wills and Powers of Attorney to our office when we are going through the estate planning process.

Whenever we sign new documents with our clients, those new drafts say, “I hereby revoke any prior Will and make this new Will effective as of today’s date…”  Signing new documents with this language clearly cancels any prior document that the client previously signed.

There are several common circumstances where someone wants to cancel a document:

  • My spouse passed away, do I need to do new documents?
    • Answer: It depends. Many attorneys build their estate planning documents to be effective if a spouse passes away first or second.  Take a close look to make sure that both possible routes are already covered.
  • I got divorced. Do I need new documents?
    • Wisconsin’s statutes automatically cancel Health Care Power of Attorney documents and certain other estate planning documents upon a divorce. Talk with an estate planning attorney to see whether your documents canceled or not.
  • One of my children passed away. Do I need new documents?
    • Many estate plans already discuss what happens if a beneficiary passes away. Often, their share is distributed amongst that person’s children.  Talk with an estate planning attorney to see whether your documents still reflect your wishes.

If you need to revoke or cancel your Will or Powers of Attorney, our estate planning attorneys are here to assist you.

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Jon L. Fischer

Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney at McCarty Law LLP
Jon focuses his practice on estate planning, probate matters, and Medicaid planning as he aims to help clients in their time of need.