A written will may be revoked either by a subsequent written will or codicil or other revocatory writing or by being burnt, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revoking it, by the testator himself or by another person in his presence and by his direction. If a will is revoked by a subsequent writing, the revocation must comply with the formalities necessary for the execution of a written will.
After the decedent’s death, the beneficiaries of his will and the caveators litigated their claims in probate court. The caveators argued that prior to the decedent’s death, he had executed a new will naming them as beneficiaries and revoked all prior wills. The trial court granted summary judgment for the caveators. The beneficiaries appealed, arguing that there was no paper document in support of the opposing party’s claim.
Did the subsequent will revoke and replace the previous will?
The court held that despite no tangible evidence of a subsequent will, the parties presented other sufficient evidence in support of their claims. It reasoned that a tangible document is not required. Mere evidence attesting to the execution of a subsequent will is needed.