The Last Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney You’ll Ever Need

Attorney Jennifer Moore and her canine ambassadors Chloe and Libby

2 ways to change your will

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Estate Planning

You can only make a will with the knowledge you have at that precise point in time. A lot can change with time, and at some point, you may need to alter your will to reflect your new reality. For example, if you marry or divorce, have a child or lose a beneficiary, build or lose a business or receive an inheritance, an update could be warranted.

It’s best to review your will every year or so to ascertain whether it needs amending, as well as doing so after any major life events that affect it. Understanding how to update your will can minimize the likelihood that any problems will occur after you’re gone. Problems that could work against the changes you intended to make. There are two principal ways to update your will.

The first is to add a codicil

A codicil is a separate legal document that outlines the changes you wish to make. You’ll need to guard it together with the existing will that it refers to and is dependent on. A codicil on its own is of no use to anyone. It’s best to only use these resources for relatively minor modifications.

The second is to revoke a previous will and write a new one

You can write a new will and include text that makes it clear you wish to revoke any previous wills or codicils. You should destroy any copies of the old ones to avoid the potential for confusion or will contests.

With appropriate legal help, you can modify your will in a way that a court should recognize as valid, making for a smoother transition of your estate when you die.