How and When to Revoke Estate Planning Documents

People may want to revoke their estate planning documents for a number of reasons. Perhaps you’ve become estranged from the friend or family member you named as your personal representative or agent. Or you’ve decided to give your estate assets to a new set of beneficiaries and want the change to happen now. Knowing how and when to revoke estate planning documents can save you some time and stress.

How to Revoke Your Last Will and Testament.

You can revoke your Will any time as long as you are competent. You may do so in writing or by physically destroying the Will.

If you’ve decided to revoke your Will, there are some things you should not do:

  • Scratch out the parts of the Will you don’t want, while leaving the rest intact. Courts frown on this.
  • Destroy your old Will without making a new one. Worst case scenario: you shred your Will and then pass away without executing a new Will. Dying without a will prolongs the probate process, which is not an ideal situation for your heirs.

If you just want to amend your Will, you can prepare a codicil. When revoking your Will, remember that your codicils will be revoked also.

Revoking Your Durable Power of Attorney.

You may want to change your durable power of attorney (DPOA) because the agent you chose is no longer available or no longer trusted. One way to revoke your DPOA is to prepare and sign a document that states you want to terminate the DPOA. You may also just execute a completely new DPOA, but make sure it is dated and states the old DPOA is being replaced by the new one. Notify agents you are replacing that they no longer have the authority to act on your behalf.

How to Revoke Your Florida Designation of Health Care Surrogate.

This document is used to name someone to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so. According to Florida law, you may revoke a health care surrogate designation by:

1)      Signing a written and dated instrument that revokes the designations;

2)      Destroying the physical printed copy of the designation or asking another person to do so;

3)      Verbally telling someone you want to revoke the designation; or

4)      Signing a new, materially different designation.

Revoking a Trust.

You can write a completely new trust and terminate the old trust. Consult with an attorney before doing this, because penalties, fees, and taxes may apply.

Another way to modify the trust is through amendment. An amendment is appropriate when making simple changes to a trust, e.g. changing an outright distribution from one beneficiary to another.

Adding additional property to the trust can be done by titling the property to the trust. Then add it to the trust’s schedule of assets.

When you want to make major changes to the trust, you can restate the trust. Include all the changes in the restatement. Assets of the restated trust remain the same as the original trust, though you can add more assets if you want.

Whether You Need to Revoke a Document or Write One, Call Today.

At the Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we help clients build, develop, and maintain estate plans that adapt to their changing lives. Please contact us at 772-324-9050 to schedule an appointment or fill out our Contact Form. We are located in Palm City, Florida, and serve clients in surrounding communities like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie, and Jupiter.

Written by John Mangan, Esq.

John Mangan, Esq.

I’m an attorney in Palm City, FL, and I serve clients throughout Martin County, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown, as well as those in St. Lucie County, the Treasure Coast, Palm Beach County, and other parts of Florida. The Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., is an innovative firm providing estate planning services to clients in Florida. We focus primarily on wills, trusts, asset protection, guardianship, and probate administration.