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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/4-7: Revocation - Revival

For a variety of reasons, once you execute your will, you may need to revoke or change it. For example, changes in your family or financial situation may signal that you need to revoke your will and create a new one. Because of the important of a will and the legal ramifications of a will, Illinois law has specific steps that must be taken in order to revoke a will. Failure to follow the steps may mean that a will that no longer reflects your wishes will be probated and your assets will be distributed to people who you no longer want to receive them. If you want to revoke your current will and execute a new one, contact an experienced Chicago will lawyer.

Revoking a Will

Under the Illinois Probate Act, in order to revoke a will the testator must do one of the following:

  • Burning the will
  • Cancelling the will
  • Tearing the will
  • Obliterating the will
  • Executing a new will that includes language that revokes the prior will
  • Executing a new will that is inconsistent with the prior will
  • Executing a document declares the revocation of the will, and that is signed and attested in the same manner as required to execute a will.

Note that only the testator or someone at the direction of and in the presence of the testator can revoke a will. Furthermore, as a Chicago will attorney will explain, it is important to understand that the dissolution of marriage, while it does not cancel wills created by the former spouses, it does cancel bequests made to the former spouse. Similarly, terms which appoint the former spouse as a fiduciary, or give the former spouse the power of appointment are also revolved.

Reviving a Revoked Will

If you revoke your will and then change our mind, there are steps that you must take in order revive the revoked will. The only way to revive a revoked will is to re-execute the will, or to execute a document that declares the revival. The document must be signed and attested in the same manner as required to execute a will.

Signing and Attestation

In order for a will to be valid in Illinois, it must be signed and attested in a specific manner. The will must be in writing and must be signed by the testator. It is also acceptable for the will to be signed by someone else at the direction of testator. In addition, the signing of the will must be witnessed by at least 2 people who must also sign the will.

These steps must be followed in order to execute a document that revokes a will or that revives a revoked will. If you would like to create a will, revoke a will, or make changes to your will, in order to ensure that everything is completed in manner that is consistent with Illinois law, contact a will lawyer in Chicago.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Capacity of testator: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-1
  2. Signing and attestation: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-3
  3. Beneficiary or creditor as witness: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-6
Illinois Probate Act, Section 4-7- Revocation - Revival

(a) A will may be revoked only (1) by burning, cancelling, tearing or obliterating it by the testator himself or by some person in his presence and by his direction and consent, (2) by the execution of a later will declaring the revocation, (3) by a later will to the extent that it is inconsistent with the prior will or (4) by the execution of an instrument declaring the revocation and signed and attested in the manner prescribed by this Article for the signing and attestation of a will.

(b) No will or any part thereof is revoked by any change in the circumstances, condition or marital status of the testator, except that dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of the marriage of the testator revokes every legacy or interest or power of appointment given to or nomination to fiduciary office of the testator's former spouse in a will executed before the entry of the judgment of dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of marriage and the will takes effect in the same manner as if the former spouse had died before the testator.

(c) A will which is totally revoked in any manner is not revived other than by its re-execution or by an instrument declaring the revival and signed and attested in the manner prescribed by this Article for the signing and attestation of a will. If a will is partially revoked by an instrument which is itself revoked, the revoked part of the will is revived and takes effect as if there had been no revocation.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

In order to ensure that your will remains consistent with your wishes, it is important that your review it every few years. It is particularly important that you review it after a marriage, divorce, death, or birth, as those are typically occasions to rethink bequests. In addition, if there are major changes in your financial situations, you should review the terms of your will. The will attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing individuals, executors, beneficiaries, and heirs in estate matters. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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