In Texas, a will can be revoked by a subsequent, valid will stating that a prior will is revoked or by the physical act of destroying it. For more information and a complete discussion on revoking wills, click here. In general, a will once revoked cannot be “unrevoked” or revived unless the will is re-executed with the formalities required of wills. There are some exceptions to this rule that once revoked, a will cannot be revived. One of those exceptions is the doctrine of dependent relative revocation.
The Texas doctrine of dependent relative revocation creates a presumption against revocation in circumstances where the testator cancels or destroys a will with the present intention of making a new one immediately, and the new will is invalid for any reason. The theory is that in such circumstances the testator would have preferred the old will to intestacy (dying without a will.) This doctrine does not apply where there is a large difference in the way the two wills dispose of the testator’s property. In such a situation when the revoking will, which is invalid as a testamentary disposition, disposes of property to beneficiaries different from those in a former will, the testator’s intention may best be followed by allowing the property to pass by intestate succession. Therefore, the courts will not apply the doctrine of dependent relative revocation.
Pearls of Wisdom: Revoking a will like making a will should not be done by your self. You should contact an attorney to make sure that your desires for the disposition of your property are applied instead of the laws of instate succession.
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By Robert Ray a Board Certified attorney. The foregoing information is general in nature and does not apply to every fact situation. We handle litigation involving inheritance disputes. We don’t prepare wills. We don’t file wills for probate or distribute estates except when we are contesting a will or protecting a will from a contest. We handle a select few cases on contingency. Don’t use a comment to ask a personal question about an inheritance issue because your name and comment will be public. To ask a litigation question and to protect your privacy, click the red button to the right.