It’s never enough to write a will. You need to make sure that it continues to reflect your changing circumstances. When your personal circumstances change, you need to review your will and make any required changes.
There are two ways to go about this:
· You can either create a new will, or
· Make codicils to your existing will.
Create a will codicil
A codicil is a legal document that updates certain provisions of your Last Will & Testament. It should typically only be used for minor changes. You can create a codicil if:
· You’ve gotten married and want to update your maiden name
· You want to change your executor’s address or other contact details
· One of the beneficiaries got married and you need to update their name
· You want to change the age at which one of the beneficiaries will receive their share.
Even though codicils are for minor changes, they still must be signed and witnessed the same way as your original will. Codicils are also less expensive compared to completely updating the will since it’s more like a secondary document attached to your original will. Keep in mind that if you’re decreasing someone’s inheritance or disinheriting someone, then it’s typically better to create a new Will rather than a Codicil since the Codicil will reflect the changes, but you may prefer that they never see the original version.
Writing a New Will
You need to rewrite if your life has undergone a major or significant change. As a rule of thumb, we recommend reviewing your will every three to five years if you achieved any milestones over this period. You might want to redo your will if:
· You’ve gone through a divorce or separation
· You’ve gotten married or entered a civil partnership
· You’ve recently had a baby or a grandchild
· One of your beneficiaries or executors died and you want to name someone else
· Bought new property
· Inherited money
· You’ve inherited property from someone else.
Whenever you’re updating your will or writing a new one, you need to make sure that it revokes any previous wills or codicils. To avoid confusion, we also recommend destroying any copies of the old will. Your estate planning attorney and will lawyer can help you make the required changesand reduce the risk of you screwing things up. Get in touch with Mike Massey Law if you’re based in Austin, Houston, or San Antonio. Our services include estate planning, probate, personal injury, mediation, LLC formation, and real estate deeds.
Our lawyers meet clients by appointment only.