Perhaps nothing is more important when it comes to estate planning than ensuring that final desires and wishes are carried out in legal instruments like a last will and testament. The unfortunate reality is that with surprising regularity, the intent of a will becomes muddled after a person’s death because more than one will is produced following the passing. For example, a Delaware resident may have written more than one will during the course of their life, which results in confusion upon their death. There are important strategies to take to prevent confusion regarding which instrument is a valid will.
Physically destroy prior will or wills
The surest way that confusion over multiple wills can be avoided is to physically destroy a prior will after a new one is created. If an immediate reason exists to exclude someone from an existing will, physically destroying it once a new one is complete is advisable.
When drafting a will as part of a comprehensive estate planning effort, Delaware law permits the inclusion of a revocation clause in the instrument. A revocation clause clearly sets forth that any prior will is revoked and of no effect when the new instrument is executed.
Make one original
When the probate process commences in Delaware, the court needs the original copy of a will. This necessitates that a will be kept in a secure place until needed, like in a bank safe deposit box. This doesn’t mean a person should sign multiple original copies of a last will and testament, a course of action that is rife for potential misunderstandings.
When it comes to estate planning and drafting a will, engaging an experienced Delaware estate planning attorney is a recommended course. Legal counsel may assist a person in developing the most appropriate estate plan.