Having a valid will that ensures your wishes become reality upon your passing can help not only put your mind at ease, but it can also guarantee that your heirs are taken care of upon your passing. Although the will consideration and creation process itself can be fraught with legal complexities, the truth of the matter is that those challenges can continue even after the document is signed and witnessed.
This often occurs when an individual decides that his or her will needs to be changed. Modifying one’s will from time-to-time is important so that it reflects any life changes that may have occurred since the document’s creation. For example, marriage can affect how property will be divided upon death unless otherwise specified in a will. Likewise, divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, the accumulation of new assets and a changed desire for how to treat one’s beneficiaries may all justify changes to a will.
So how does an individual go about changing a will? The best way is to revoke a previous will. To do so, an individual need only create the new will, indicating in it that the will revokes any previous wills and codicils. It is also wise to destroy any of the old wills that may be by laying around. Another way to modify an existing will is to create a codicil, which is essentially an amendment to the already existing will. Although these are valid once they are dated, signed and witnessed, they may bring up more legal issues than an individual wants to deal with, which is why it may be best to simply create a new will revoking an older will.
Of course, ensuring that one’s will is legally valid and effectively communicates an individual’s wishes are crucial. For this reason, many people turn to experienced estate planning attorneys who can ensure that their needs are met. These qualified legal professionals can also help address any deficiencies in a will and litigate with regard to any questions about a will’s validity or unclear provisions. Thus, those who would like assistance with their will and other estate planning matters should think about their rights and options in the matter.