Wills and Trusts:

Events Prompting Change

It is important to keep your will up to date so that it reflects your current family and financial status. If you experience a big change in your life, you should change your will accordingly. Listed below are some of the events that may necessitate modifying your will.

Life-changing Events:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Relocation to a new state or country (You should change the will so it corresponds to that region’s laws to avoid delays in probating it.)

Changes in Your Financial Situation or Assets:

  • Inheritance of a large amount of money or other asset
  • Purchase or acquisition of a new home, car, or other asset
  • Purchase or sale of a business
  • Sale or destruction of an asset that was included in your will

Changes in Your Original Beneficiaries:

  • Death of a spouse or other beneficiary
  • Relationship with a beneficiary takes a turn for the worse
  • Desire to include new beneficiaries

When changing your will, you have two options. First, you can add a codicil to your existing will. A codicil can be used to revoke part of your will or to add a provision. Codicils must be signed and dated and witnesses must be present, just like with a will. However, codicils may create confusion and conflict. For this reason, many people choose to create a new will when their circumstances change. When you create a new will, make sure to include a statement revoking all previous wills and codicils that you have made. It is also advisable to destroy any copies of your old will.

If you are unsure about whether you need to change your will or the best way to go about creating a codicil or a new will, consult with an estate planning attorney.

Wills and Trusts: Creation and Modification of Wills