My wife and I drafted our wills with an attorney when our two children were young. We would now like to make some minor tweak...Read more
How to Make Changes to Your Will
- March 28th, 2014
As life circumstances change (births, marriages, divorces, and deaths), it may become necessary to make changes to your will. If an estate plan is not kept up-to-date, it can become useless. The best way to make changes is either through a codicil -- an amendment to the will -- or by creating a new will.
While it may be tempting to just take out a pen and make changes by hand, this is not recommended. Changes will not be effective unless you use the same formalities as you did when drafting the will. And depending on state law, changes made by hand on the will may void the will altogether. If you sign your name to handwritten changes and have the changes witnessed, it is possible a court will find that the changes are valid, but there is no guarantee and there are likely to be delays with the court while your final wishes are sorted out.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Felinton Elder Law & Estate Planning Centers
Mindy Felinton concentrates in the areas of Medicaid planning, Veterans' Benefits, asset protection, nursing home planning, elder law, wills, estate planning, trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, probate administration and trust administration and began her legal career 30 years ago as an Assistant State Attorney...
Landsman Law Group
Ron M. Landsman has been practicing elder law since 1983, before it was known as elder law, originally with Landsman and Laster, Washington, D.C., then Landsman, Eakes and Laster, also in Arlington, VA, and since 1990 in his own practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has been among the most active members of the...
If you have small changes to make to your will (i.e., changing your executor or updating a name that has changed), a codicil may be appropriate. The benefit of a codicil is that it is usually cheaper than redoing the entire will. The same rules for wills apply to codicils, which means the codicil should be dated, signed, and witnessed. Always keep a codicil with the will so your personal representative can find it easily.
If you have significant changes to make to your will (i.e., adding a spouse or removing a beneficiary) or have more than one change, it is generally better to update your will rather than write one or more codicils. The updated will should include a date and a clear statement that all other previous wills and codicils are revoked. For more information on wills, click here.
Before you make any changes to your will, you should consult with your attorney.
For more information on when you should update an estate plan, click here.
Last Modified: 03/28/2014