While it is common for people to procrastinate about writing a will, your loved one was more proactive. In fact, during the Minnesota probate process, more than one will has been discovered. It is evident that one of the documents is an earlier version, and the later one should replace it, so the first is revoked. However, issues with the second could leave the estate without a will at all. What happens if both are revoked?
Fortunately, legislators anticipated issues such as this, and the Minnesota Statutes address the revocation and revival of wills. Basically, if the second is found to be invalid, and the original would have been valid had the second not appeared to invalidate it, then the first is revived.
What can cause a will to be revoked, even though it is the later one and appears to express the testator’s wishes? It could be that he or she did not create the document according to the law. If your relative crossed out sections of the original document, writing new instructions over the old, that could show implicit intent. However, if the changes were not witnessed and signed by two impartial witnesses, even though the document included the signatures from a previous version, they would not count. Every change or replacement must follow the law for a new document. In this case, a probate judge is likely to revive the original version.
Often, when there is more than one will, heirs challenge the one that does not favor them as much. Because many factors affect the validity of wills, this general information should not replace the advice of an attorney.