How to Change Your Will

After reading “When to Change a Will” you have decided that a change needs to be addressed in your Will. However, the change is small and you don’t believe it justifies a whole new will. Are there options for those in your situation? Yes. You can have an attorney draft a codicil.

A "codicil" is an amendment to a Will. It does not revoke the entire Will, but it does change certain provisions. 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. 

Particular care must be taken in writing a codicil to define just what changes are to be made in a Will. If an heir is to be removed or added, it must be clearly stated. A codicil should be kept together with the Will to assure that it will not be overlooked when the estate is probated. 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 the Will must comply to the same formalities used in making a codicil or 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.

A person should never write a change on the face of a Will. All changes to a Will should be by a valid codicil or a new Will in accordance with the requirements of the state of domicile. 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.