Woman shredding documents

50 Ways to Destroy an Old Will

Paul Simon sang to us about the “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” and Train told us there are “50 Ways to Say Goodbye,” so will the next 50-something song to top the charts be “50 Ways to Destroy an Old Will?” Probably not, but maybe it should be! The Palmer & Slay team is often asked what people should do with their old estate planning documents once they execute a new plan. 

We’ve pulled together a few suggestions for any Brandon, Mississippi resident looking to get rid of an old will, or any budding musician who wants to put together an estate planning bop. 

Throw It Away

If no copies of your estate plan exist, the plan itself does not exist. So, if you want to get rid of your existing will, toss it out! Toss it in the trash. Put it in the recycling bin. Burn it. Compost it and use it in your garden. In other words, do with it whatever you do with other paper waste. 

Destroy It

If you want to be dramatic about it, or just ensure that nobody is able to dig through your trash and read your old estate planning documents, you can destroy them. Rip them up or invest in a shredder. Cut the pages into snowflakes or paper chains for the next holiday. Or mark through every line with black permanent marker so nobody can read a word. The point here is that destroying a will invalidates it. 

Visit Palmer & Slay’s Office 

If you want, you can bring old estate planning documents to Palmer & Slay’s office for shredding and disposal when you come in to make a new estate plan. 

Before You Dig Out Your Old Will

Ideally, you will have a new will in place before you get rid of the old one. But if you like Mississippi’s laws of intestacy (which say what happens when someone dies without a will) better than your current will, let it rip. Literally. 

Be sure to destroy all the copies of your old will. You wouldn’t want your loved ones to find an older version, and follow it instead of your updated version. Your wishes would not be carried out, and by the time the mistake was discovered, it might be impossible to redo certain things. 

You also wouldn’t want your loved ones to find two different versions and get into a fight over changes made between drafts. People who are treated more favorably by the first draft would not hesitate to challenge the later draft. They could argue the new version is fake, or that you were not mentally sound at the time the new version was drafted. You don’t want to give these people ammunition by keeping old documents around. If you have questions about destroying old wills, or need help with estate planning in general, the Palmer & Slay team is here for you. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting with our experienced team of attorneys.