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What should you do with your old will and trust documents?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2023 | Estate Planning

Creating your plan is the first step in the estate planning process—you must review and update it routinely to ensure it meets your needs and accounts for any changes in the law.

Sometimes, you may only need to make simple changes, which you can probably do by adding a codicil or amendment to your will or trust. If you need major changes, you may need new replacement documents, but what happens to your old ones?

Consider destroying your old wills

Assuming you execute it correctly under Florida wills laws (properly witnessed, etc.), creating a new will makes older versions invalid. However, it may be wise to ensure the document no longer exists. Deceased celebrities are not the only ones at risk of will contests if they leave multiple estate planning documents behind.

Destroying an old will could help to prevent legal challenges from well-meaning loved ones concerned that your new will may not reflect your wishes. Burn or thoroughly shred your old will documents every time you replace them, and make sure you have a couple of witnesses present during their destruction.

Seek guidance with outdated trusts

As mentioned, you may not need to create a new trust to alter the provisions of an older one. Your legal representative can probably help you draft a trust restatement or amendment that meets your needs.

Still, there is a chance that you may benefit from scrapping the original trust and starting over. You may want to destroy your old trust as you would an old will, but consider seeking a legal opinion first. It can help you identify any risks associated with the trust’s destruction.