How Do You Make Changes To A Will?

It is something that happens to many people who have a will as part of their estate plan: a major change occurs in your life that makes it so your will, as it currently stands, no longer accurately reflects what you want to have happen upon your passing. Thankfully, when this occurs, a person doesn't simply have to accept having a will that is ill-suited for carrying out their intentions. There are ways to make changes to a will to adjust to changed circumstances.

There are two main methods for changing a will.

The first is one that used to be fairly popular, but has fallen more out of favor in recent times. This method is the use of a codicil. A codicil is a legal document that adds terms to and/or revokes certain terms of a preexisting will. Some of the reasons that codicils have generally fallen out of favor are: that they can be prone to getting lost, they can sometimes lead to confusing situations in which it isn't entirely clear, upon a person's death, what terms their will does and does not contain and that improvements in computer and printing technology have made the other main method for changing wills much easier.

This other method, which is currently viewed as one of the most simple and straightforward ways to update a will, is the creation of a brand new will. This method generally involves a person putting a new will into effect that: revokes the preexisting will, contains any terms of the preexisting will that the person wishes to keep and contains any changes that person wishes to make.

When changing a will through the creation of a new will, it is very important to get all the details of the new will right. This can help ensure that the new will accurately reflects a person's wishes, that it actually revokes all previous wills and that the chances of the will being challenged are as low as possible. Estate planning attorneys can assist individuals with the drafting of a new will to replace a previous will that has become obsolete due to changing life circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, "Changing a Will," Accessed Sept. 8, 2014

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