Professionals at Beroes Law Center

Can I have my old will back?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2023 | Estate Planning

Your will is an important piece of your estate plan. Executing a will takes time, thought and effort, and once it is in place, you can feel secure knowing your assets will go to the people you want.

Sometimes life circumstances cause you to change the terms of your will. Perhaps you get a divorce, end a relationship or have a falling out with a family member. Any of these things could make it necessary to change the terms of your will.

Revoking a will

You can only create a new will by destroying the old one. This must be done physically, such as by physically tearing up the will, or through a clearly written statement in the new will saying that the old will is completely revoked.

But what happens if you realize you made a mistake and want the terms of your old will back? If you destroy the new will, do the terms of your old will automatically go back into place?

Reviving a will

Under Pennsylvania law, the answer is no. The law states that after you execute a new will, revoking that will later does not automatically “revive” your old will.

However, you can put the terms of your old will back into place by stating in writing that you are revoking the new will and that you intend that the terms of your old will be revived.

The key thing to remember here is that these words must be in writing to be legally valid. Even if you validly revoke your new will, you cannot simply tell everyone that your old will is back in place. You must put it in writing.

Keep copies of everything

When you execute a new will, keep a copy of your old will in case you find yourself in a situation like this. You should also retain a copy of all written statements relating to your wills.

Pennsylvania Bar Association

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