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How can wills be updated?

A person's goals and situation can change greatly over time. So, it is not uncommon for individuals to find themselves in a situation in which a will they formed no longer fits their wishes. Thankfully, wills can be updated to meet a person's changing goals and needs. Today, we'll go over the two main ways a person can change his or her will.

Amending a will

One is through forming a codicil. A codicil is a document that amends a pre-existing will. It can be used to add, remove or change terms. Some find codicils a helpful way to make minor changes to a will.

An important thing to note about codicils is that, to be enforceable, they generally have to meet the same formation requirements the state puts on wills.

There are some potential drawbacks to codicils. One is that, particularly when multiple codicils have been formed, there could be the possibility for there to be confusion over what terms are and aren't part of a person's will after he or she passes away. Also, problems can arise if a codicil is lost or a family isn't aware of its existence.

Making a new will

Another option for changing a will's terms is to form a new will to replace the old one, with the new will containing the changes one desires. This can be a particularly helpful route for making major changes to a will or making a lot of changes to a will.

When a person forms a new will to replace an old one, it can be wise to take steps to make it clear that the old will has been revoked. This could help prevent future confusion over what will is in effect. Destroying the old will and copies of it is one step that can be taken in this regard.

Avoiding mistakes critical when updating a will

When changing a will through either of these methods, mistakes can be costly. Missteps could result in the desired changes not taking effect or having a very different result than what was intended. Estate planning lawyers can help individuals who desire to make will changes determine what will-updating route is the best fit for them and avoid mistakes when pursuing this route.

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