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How can you update a will?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Life will continue after you have written your will, making it outdated. Thus, you need to update your will when things change. This may not mean omitting or adding information to your existing one. Since it’s a legal document, you need to take certain steps to make the changes valid.

Here are two ways you can update a will:

1. Create a new will

Writing a new will with updated information is one of your options. However, you need to state that other existing wills are revoked. This statement should be explicitly present to avoid contests in the future. Further, you should observe all the procedures you did with your previous wills. These include having the required testamentary capacity, having witnesses and providing proper signatures. 

If you take this route, it’s wisest to destroy any previous wills you’ve created by burning, tearing or shredding them. That can prevent confusion and disputes, later.

2. Use a codicil 

Another option is using a codicil – which is a testamentary document that can be attached to your existing will to update it. It’s best used for small changes, such as when you want to make a new bequest or change information about an asset. When drafting a codicil, you should clearly state that the document is a codicil and highlight the parts of the will you want to update. In addition, you may subject your codicil to some procedures as the will. For instance, you should have witnesses and proper signatures (your signature and those of the witnesses).

You can create as many codicils as you want to supplement your will. But it may be best to have a few to eliminate the chances of confusion and misunderstandings. Updating a will is necessary for certain instances. It will help to obtain adequate information to make the right moves.