If the will designates several persons to inherit real estate property and the deeds to those properties are changed after the will was prepared, by adding another person(s), to the deeds, do the new deeds supersede the will designations?
2 Answers from Attorneys
A will doesn't take effect until the person whose will it is (the "testator") dies. So technically anything can happen after a will is made out until then...as long as the testator still owns the property as of the date of death! This may be a situation, however, where the testator needs to make a "codicil" (will amendment) or a new will, so that the additional person(s) can inherit. Merely making out a deed, unsigned and unrecorded, generally doesn't change a will, but oculd call the testator's intent into question.....and that could be a problem if it goes through probate and the persons in the deed want to contest the provisions in the will....... The testator should see an attorney about properly aligning his/her wishes.
I strongly encourage you to have a local attorney experienced in probate and real estate review the documents regardless of the following response. Perhaps there are points of interpretation, particularly if there were multiple owner designations, or there may be bases for disputing the documents.
Generally the designation in the deed would govern. So, if title was held in a way that provides for survivorship to the property (i.e., joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety), then upon one owner's passing the remaining owner(s) would retain title. The property would not pass through the estate. If title was held without the attribute of survivorship (i.e., tenants in common, which would be the default if there is not a proper designation), then, while the deed would govern, each owner' share would pass through that owner's estate.