A Gallup report reveals only 46% of U.S. adults have a living Will describing how their estate and money should be used after they’re gone. Good job if you already have one!
But life is unpredictable, and drawing up a Will isn’t a one-time thing. Circumstances may force you to update your Will after creating one. Updating your will is a sure way to ensure it’s current and to have the appropriate beneficiaries for your estates.
Updating a Will can also be daunting when you don’t know how to go about it. We’ve put together this guide to show you how to update your will and ensure people know it’s the latest version. So, let’s get to it!
1. Write a Codicil to a Will
First off! What is a codicil? Simply put, a codicil is an amendment to an old Will. A codicil is the best way to update a Will if you’re looking to make minor changes. These could be changing your Will executor or beneficiary.
You should execute and sign a codicil like you would a Will. But, codicils have downsides and may not be the best way to update a Will.
First, you may lose the codicil if it’s detached from the Will. This can mess you up! Second, codicils can be challenged by some family members. You’ll want to avoid this option if you want a solid Will.
2. Make Handwritten Changes
You can amend your Will by adding new information or crossing out some parts. But you want to be careful how you approach it since states have different laws governing this.
Also, some family members can challenge your handwritten Will changes and get away with it. You’ll be on the losing end if they’re the last people you want as beneficiaries.
So, you want to ensure you and a witness who signed the old Will sign to certify the changes. Making handwritten changes to a Will isn’t the best if you want a solid Will. Instead, you should consider the next option to update your Will.
3. Draw Up a New Will
Sometimes writing a new Will is the best opinion when you want a solid Will. It’s also the best option when you want to make significant changes to a Will. This way, you’ll eliminate possible confusion emerging from anything you add or cancel from the old Will.
You should also revoke the old Will once the new one is in operation. The new Will should include a statement that you revoke all Wills before this one.
Importantly, you should destroy all existing copies of the old Will to avoid confusion. Lastly, the new Will should be signed and executed according to your state regulations.
What Next After Updating Your Will
Successfully updating your Will isn’t an end. You have to ensure witnesses duly sign it. It’s also best to have it notarized by a notary public. This way, you can authenticate the signatures in your updated Will.
You should also consider safe storage for the Will. One of the best places is your Attorney’s office. You can rest assured your Will is in safe hands if you trust your attorney. Importantly, you should inform key stakeholders in the Will where you’re keeping it.
Lastly, you should review the Will occasionally after major life happenings. This ensures your Will is up to date and represents all your wishes.
Update Your Will with The Help of the Law Offices of James C. Shields
Reviewing and updating a Will is crucial yet a delicate procedure. The last thing you want is to mess up when updating your Will since it may invalidate it.
Don’t stress it if you’re looking to update your will but don’t know how to go about it. This is where we come in handy. So, be sure to contact us for a free consultation!