Do we need to inform the first attorney that we wrote a new will with another attorney?

2 answers | Last updated: Dec 05, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband and I had a will and trust made up about five years ago. We then had a new one made up by another attorney about a year ago. Do we have to inform the first attorney?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

You might assume that the second attorney made sure that all formalities were followed to make your second set of documents legal and effective. But you must also want to heed that life adage about when you assume something, it risks making an ass of "u and me."

From a legal standpoint, the will with the more recent date supersedes the older one. But some trusts, depending on their form and intent, require that you sign a written declaration to revoke some or all of their provisions.

To be on the safest side of avoiding having conflicting legal documents floating about after your death, it wouldn't hurt to check back briefly with both attorneys involved. Make sure the second attorney is aware of the previous documents--and explain that you want to be sure they have been legally wiped out or "revoked." There should be no extra charge for this assurance; after all, it is part of that attorney's work in providing you with a valid will and trust.

And as a back-up, if your second attorney has not already done so, you may want to drop the first attorney a brief letter informing him or her that you have finalized new documents and want the precious ones revoked.

Community Answers

Hunter02love answered...

What if you can not find the 1st attorney and what if the living trust you have is no good anymore because you do not live at the home you have listed in your living trust anymore. how do you find out if it is a revokable living trust. My parents had a living trust done years ago and they can not find the person that had signed the living trust so what should they do