How long is a will valid?

A will is valid until your death, but different circumstances can impact how long a will is valid. For example, a divorce can revoke your will or portions of your will depending on which assets were left to the former spouse. If you have any questions about your will, use our free legal tool below.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 24, 2020

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In general, a Will is valid until your death, but there are a few exceptions. If you were married at the time you made a Will and then later got a divorce, either your entire Will was revoked or the portions of your Will giving property to your former spouse were revoked by the divorce.

The remaining portions of your Will might also be affected if the property listed in your Will went to your spouse in the divorce settlement or decree. If you intentionally destroyed the original of your Will or wrote a new Will that revoked it, that also would invalidate your Will.

A Will that has been revoked by someone who is legally competent cannot be revived; you have to make a new Will. So, for example, if you have a Will, then change your mind and write a new Will saying that you revoke the original Will, if you change your mind again and destroy the second Will, that would not make the first Will valid again. You have to remake the original Will.

Though your Will remains valid if you haven’t divorced, it makes sense to update it regularly if your situation changes, such as by losing contact with your named Personal Representation (or ‘Executor’/’Executrix’) or by changes in the property you hold.

For example, if you sell your house and buy a retirement condo, you need to update that information in your Will. Of if you wanted to leave an equal inheritance to 2 children, but the property you left to one has increased in value, while the other has lost value, you might want to make adjustments to your Will.

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