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What’s the Process for Making Changes to a Will?

A fountain pen and a documentLife changes, we all know that. What you set forth in your will when you first arrange it may not still be what you want down the road. People leave your life for various reasons; assets change; and needs adjust. Your last will and testament is not set in stone the minute that you make it official. You do, however, have to make sure that you follow the right method of making changes in order to ensure their validity or your ex-spouse is getting what you don’t want him to get or the children you had after the will was drafted could be left in the dust.

There is one stipulation that must hold true in order for you to make changes to your will, however. You must be of sound mind. It has to be proven that you are competent both physically and mentally. If it can be proven that you made the changes while not of sound mind or under duress, the changes may not be honored – but that is the only situation in which your last will and testament may reach conflict.

When you are ready to make the changes, they must be made officially. This means manually making the changes yourself on the will and initialing them is not enough. You must go through the legal process of adding a codicil. The codicil states your changes and is attached to your existing will. These changes must be dated and kept with the will at all times. This should only be used in the case of small changes, however. If you have large changes, it is generally requested that you make a new will and void the old will.

In the event that you are willing someone a tangible asset that you may no longer own, you can create what is called an ademption. This allows for you to make adjustments to the gifts that you are offering to your loved ones if they no longer exist. For example, if you are willing your grandmother’s antique ring to your daughter, yet the ring got lost before you passed away, the ademption could state that if the ring is no longer in your possession, your daughter has the choice of another piece of jewelry at the time of your death, or something to that effect.

The good news is that you are not stuck with the original will that you create when you are young and your life is completely different than it is as you age. The key is making legal changes to ensure that your last wishes are carried out upon your death.