Young male lawyer visiting old man to revise his will

Does a New Will Supersede an Old Will?

Russell Manning Attorney May 2, 2023

The benefits of having a will are numerous, but perhaps the most important is that it allows you to take care of your family and loved ones long after you pass away. If you start this process early in life (and you should), your will will likely need to be revised throughout the years and you may need help drafting a new will. But what happens to your old will in cases like this? And does a new will automatically replace your old one? 

To hear detailed answers about this issue and speak with a wills attorney, reach out to me, Russell Manning Attorney at Law, to schedule a consultation. I’m proud to represent clients in Corpus Christi, Texas, South Texas, The Coastal Bend area, and anywhere else in the state.  

Does a New Will Replace an Old Will in Texas?

When revising your estate plan, the most important question to ask is, “Does a new will supersede an old will?” The answer is almost always yes—but there are some considerations to take into account that could cause issues. 

In most cases, when a person has multiple wills, the most recent one will be valid. That said, if people have reason to doubt the new will (for instance, they may question whether you actually wrote the new will yourself, may have trouble reading it, or question if you were of sound mind and body when it was drafted), it might be contested in court.  

Common Reasons for Needing a New Will 

Many people choose to start estate planning when they get married or when they have children, though younger individuals can benefit from having a will too. As your life changes and becomes more complicated, it’s only natural that your estate plan will need to change. This could be due to a change in your financial circumstances, a divorce and remarriage, or a change in the needs of your beneficiaries. Many individuals update their will every 10 years or so. 

Considerations When Drafting a New Will 

Revising or drafting a new will is incredibly common, and in most cases can be done fairly easily. However, when doing this, you’ll need to ensure it remains legally enforceable and that no one will question the new will’s validity. You can take a few key steps to acheive this. First, you need to destroy your old will or ask someone else to destroy it in front of you. You should also destroy all copies of the old will and distribute copies of the new will to your executor and other family members. It can also help to use clear language at the beginning of your new will explicitly stating that any previous wills are revoked.  

Expectations & Process

You aren’t technically required to hire an estate planning attorney when writing a new will, but it can make the entire process more streamlined and easier. It can also help ensure your will is enforceable which can drastically reduce the chances of it being contested after you pass away. Regardless, the basic process for replacing your will is the same. You’ll first need to destroy the original and all copies of the previous will. You should include language in your new will that revokes any previous wills or codicils. In Texas, wills do not need to be notarized, but you will need your new will signed by at least two “credible” witnesses who are over the age of 14.  

Experienced Guidance You Can Trust

The estate planning process can be complex. If you’re in the Corpus Christi, Texas area or the surrounding region including Bee County, Kleberg County, Nueces County, Live Oak County, Jim Wells County, Aransas County, or Victoria County, reach out to my firm, Russell Manning Attorney at Law, for all your estate planning needs.