What is the best way to make changes to your will? You need to make a “codicil” in order to change a will. A codicil is an amendment to your will; essentially, the codicil can add new sections to your will, delete sections you no longer desire, and amend or update sections. After you sign your codicil, it becomes incorporated into your preexisting will. It’s as if you replaced your will with a new, freshened up version.
What are the wrong ways to change your will? Crossing things out on your will. Writing new things directly on your will. Drafting a new will from scratch while leaving an previous version of your will floating around somewhere. Also, if you make a codicil, you need to make sure that you execute it with all the same formalities you should use when executing your will. That is, it should be signed by you, signed by two witnesses, and include a self-proving affidavit.
What happens if you amend your will the wrong way? It may very well cause your loved ones increased hassle and financial expenditure after you pass away. For example, law firm clients come into the office with wills that have handwritten amendments all over them (and even handwritten amendments to the handwritten amendments). These clients were wise to have an estate planning attorney look everything over and help them get their wills into a form that Texas probate courts will accept. If you die with a will that has handwritten amendments smattered all over it, the handwritten amendments will probably be discarded… So, not only were your handwritten amendments ineffective, but, even worse, now your will may be probated with provisions in it you no longer wanted!
Visit a Texas estate planning lawyer to draft a codicil to your will for you. Having an attorney draft a codicil to your will is even simpler than having a will made. In fact, depending on how extensive the changes are, a codicil may only be a page or two long. Therefore, the attorney’s fees for making a codicil should be very reasonable, especially when you factor in how much hassle you’ll be saving your loved ones.
Texas probate courts and Texas probate lawyers are accustomed to seeing codicils to wills, so don’t feel like adding a codicil is complicating matters. A valid codicil is infinitely better than a messy will.
It is a good idea to look over your will every so often. I recommend that you review your will every year, or at least every few years. It will only take a few minutes, and you may surprised at how many amendments you’d like made over time. That is, beneficiaries may pass away before you do, you may want to change who you name executor, your financial situation may change greatly, etc. If you want changes made to your will, contact a Texas probate lawyer or Texas estate planning attorney to have them perform a will review (which some attorneys will even do for free) and to draft a codicil to your will. You will sleep better at night knowing that your will is valid and that the changes you want to your will won’t be discarded.
With wills, as with many things, there are huge differences between doing things the right way and doing things the wrong way. Except, when it comes to amending your will, it will be your loved ones who face the consequences if you do things the wrong way.
Isaac Shutt is the Attorney/Owner at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Visit http://www.shuttlawfirm.com or email email@example.com. You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this blog or to discuss a different legal matter. Phone-calls and quick e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you’re looking for a Richardson probate lawyer, Richardson wills lawyer, Richardson estate planning attorney, or Richardson guardianship lawyer.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this blog post constitutes legal advice. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney. Further, nothing in this blog shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until you sign an engagement letter with the Firm.