So, you have just read “How Often Do I Need to Update My Will?” and you have decided that a few changes need to be addressed in your Will.
However, the changes are small and you don’t believe it requires a brand new Will.
Are there options for those in your situation? Yes. You can have your attorney draft a codicil to your Will.
A "codicil" is will-speak for an amendment to your Will. If you do not want to rewrite your entire Will, you can use a codicil to change certain provisions (or paragraphs).
The probate court will read the Will and all codicils together to determine the final intent of the deceased.
A codicil is, in essence, a mini-Will. It is prepared, signed and witnessed in the same manner as an ordinary Will; this is why I highly encourage contacting Jeppesen Law to draft your codicil. This helps to ensure that your codicil meets the same high standards as your Will, (these notes also apply to your Revocable Living Trusts as well).
Specific detail must be taken in writing your codicil to define exactly what changes need to be made in your Will. If an heir is to be removed or added, it must be clearly stated, not just hinted at. This is because the State of Idaho’s laws have protections for people believed to be “forgotten” about during the writing of a Will.
Your codicil should be kept together with your Will to assure that it will be included in the Probate process. A codicil is governed by the same rules as a Will. Therefore, if a codicil is missing, it will be presumed to have been previously revoked unless conclusively proven otherwise.
All changes to your Will must comply to the same formalities used in making a new Will. A person who simply deletes old provisions or inserts new clauses brings the validity of the Will into question.
A person can revoke his Will at any time by another Will or simply by destroying the old Will. Some states would consider the writing of the new clauses an effective revocation of the old Will, yet ineffectual in creating a new Will. So, PLEASE, do not write on your Will.
A person should never write a change on the face of a Will (this refrain includes crossing out sections). All changes to a Will should be by a valid codicil or a new Will in accordance with the requirements of the state where you live.
Given the ease with which new Wills can be created, there is no reason to risk invalidation of an existing Will by writing on it. Just prepare a new Will or a codicil.
Jeppesen Law can provide you with a comprehensive Estate Planning. With our Free Initial Consultation we help our clients explore their own situations and plan for their futures. If you have more questions, we'd love to help! Contact Jeppesen Law now. We wish you all the best. (208) 477-1785.