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How can you update your will?

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Trust & Estate Planning

When circumstances change in your life, you will need to update your will. Examples of such circumstances include marriage, divorce, a new partner without marriage, a new child/grandchild, the sale/purchase of an asset and the death of a beneficiary or an interested person. 

You may also need to update your will when you change your mind about a beneficiary – you may want to disinherit an heir or reduce/increase one’s inheritance.

So, how can you make these changes?

By writing a new will

If you want to make a major change to your will, it may be more suitable to revoke it and draft a new one. In your new will, you will state that you have revoked the previous one(s). This statement is enough to revoke an existing will, but to prevent confusion, you should suitably destroy the existing document. If you have an electronic will, you can revoke it by deleting, canceling, or rendering it unreadable. 

Note that a revocation has to be with intent to be valid. You can revoke your will, or someone else can do it in your presence and at your direction. 

Using a codicil

A codicil is a separate legal document that contains modifications to an existing will. It’s a better option for minor changes. A codicil is executed with the same formalities as a will. This means it should be dated and signed by you and witnesses.

You can write as many codicils as you want. And you can also revoke them, perhaps when writing a new will. In that case, you will state in your new will that you revoke previous wills and codicils. 

Updating a will can be complicated. You should get legal help to make your changes valid.