If you have written a will to describe how you want to distribute your property after your death, you are doing better than most Americans. After all, as a recent survey found, almost 70% of individuals across all age groups have not yet created even a bare-bones will.
When it comes to your estate, planning early is typically a recipe for success. Still, your relationships and wishes are likely to change over time, so you should update your will periodically to ensure it always reflects your genuine intentions.
Old drafts of your will
When you rewrite your will, you are likely to have old drafts that no longer apply. Naturally, you do not want someone to try to probate a superseded will. That is, you do not want one of your relatives or someone else to try to convince a court a previous version of your will is legally binding. This is especially true if later versions of your will include major changes.
The importance of certainty
In the estate planning context, certainty is important. To remove all doubts about your intentions, you probably want to destroy any drafts of your will that are not current. Furthermore, you probably should not give out photocopies of your will, as someone may attempt to use a copy of an earlier edition if your current will is missing at the time of your death.
When you have only one will at any given time, you maintain some control over what your heirs or others may do after your death. Ultimately, storing the most current version of your will in a safe place and shredding all other versions minimizes your chances of having a post-death will contest.