Amending a Will

Amending a Will

You can make changes to your last will or revoke your last will at any time. However, there are some very important rules to follow. One way to make changes to a last will is to make a codicil, which is an amendment to a last will. Another way is to make an entirely new last will that states that the new last will revokes and takes precedence over any older last wills. A codicil is a separate document and must be signed and witnessed just like a regular last will. Because of these formalities, it may be easier to make an entirely new last will.

You should not make any changes on your will after it has been signed. If you cross out a person's name or add a clause, your change will not be valid and your entire will might become invalid.

If you want to change something in your will, but cannot get to a notary to have it self-proved, you can execute a codicil that is witnessed, but not self-proved. As long as it is properly witnessed, it will legally change your will. The witnesses will have to later sign an oath if the codicil was not self-proved. Because of the possibility of error, having the codicil notarized is the most common way to change a last will.

  • What is a Will?
    A last will is a document that you create to direct the management and distribution of your property and provide for the care of your minor children after your death. The importance of a last will cannot be overstated. A last will is arguably the most important legal document that the average...
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  • Leaving Property to Heirs in a Will
    A typical last will contains two types of gifts: specific and general. Specific gifts, which leave a particular object or dollar amount to a particular person, are optional, but are generally the first items of property that are distributed from a last will. A specific gift might read: "I leave to...
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  • Last Wills and Probate Court
    Probate is the legal process through which the court decides how your property will be divided. If you have a last will, the court will review that document to determine your wishes and will follow those wishes unless the last will is successfully contested by your heirs. If you do not have a last...
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  • Joint Tenancy
    Property that is owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship does not pass under a will. If a will gives property to one person but it is already in a joint account with another person, the will is usually ignored and the joint owner of the account gets the property. The property in the...
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  • Overruling Your Will
    If all property is in joint ownership or if all property is distributed through a will, things are simple. But when some property passes by each method, a person's plans may not be fulfilled. Example 1: Bill's will leaves all his property to his sister, Mary. Bill dies owning a house jointly with...
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  • Tenancy in Common
    Property that is owned by more than one person but not owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship or in tenancy by the entireties is often owned in a tenancy in common. This means that each person owns part of the property (such as one half or one third), and upon each person's death, the...
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