When Should I Change My Will?

will change
Please Share!
If I have a current will that is about seven to 10 years old, do I have to write up a new will or can I edit the current will?

Nj.com’s recent article entitled “Do I need to change my will if it’s about 10 years old?” explains that there’s no expiration date on a will.

However, as your family and financial situations change, let alone as laws change, wills may need to be updated to reflect these changes and better reflect your intent.

Marriage, divorce, re-marriage, the birth of a new child…these are some of the most common life-changing events that may necessitate a change to your will.

If the changes are minor, they can be made in an amendment or “codicil,” a separate document that updates the will. The use of a codicil dates back to ancient times when, for instance, an heir needed to be named.

The same kinds of formalities required for a valid Will apply to codicils as well. The requirements will vary from state to state, but most states, including Texas require two witness signatures. Other states may allow the document to simply be notarized.

Sometimes, however, it’s a better to prepare a new will altogether as opposed to an amendment. Even minor changes can be better addressed by the preparation of a new will.

One example of such a situation would be if the original will you excluded a beneficiary who you now want to include, but you don’t want the beneficiary to find out they were originally excluded. If you sign a codicil, the previous exclusion will be obvious. However, with a new will, the old will and previous exclusion will remain undisclosed.

A tip….don’t mark up or hand-edit an original will because that can have the effect of making it much harder or impossible to probate. It will probably require a court proceeding to have the will accepted for probate.

Finally, some financial institutions have problems with older wills, so you may want to inquire about their policies to make sure there won’t be trouble after you pass away.

If you or a loved one needs assistance with elder lawprobate or estate planning issues, do not hesitate to BOOK A CALL using our calendar. We are here to help.

Reference: nj.com (Oct. 22, 2022) “Do I need to change my will if it’s about 10 years old?”