How can you make changes to your will?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2023 | Estate Planning |

A will is not effective until it’s submitted to probate. This means you can make changes when you want to. You can change your executor/child’s guardian, add/omit an asset after a purchase or sale, add/remove a beneficiary and so on.

But how can you make these changes

By writing a new will 

If you want to make a major change(s) to your will, you can revoke it and write a new one. You can simply do this by stating in your new will that you have revoked your previous ones, or you can tear, burn or shred it. 

You can destroy the will yourself or request someone else to do it in your presence. Regardless of your choice, your intention to destroy the will should be clear. 

By using a codicil

If you want to make a minor change, writing a codicil may be a suitable option. This is a separate legal document that contains modifications to an existing will. 

A codicil must be dated, signed and witnessed like a will to be valid. You can have as many codicils as you want. But having multiple codicils can complicate matters – ensure they don’t contradict each other. 

Note that if you have a valid codicil and choose to revoke an existing will, your new will should state you have revoked your previous wills and “codicils.”

Changes outside your will

If you want to make changes to assets or investments that will pass to your beneficiaries without going to probate, such as a life insurance policy, a retirement plan, a bank account, property in living trusts or even real estate, the above-discussed processes will not have an effect in your case. You should make changes using the forms you used to state your previous wishes.

You can update your will at any time. Consider getting legal guidance to validate your changes.