How can I amend my will in Pennsylvania?

man and woman sitting in front of paperwork

When you create your will, you may feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, as you now have peace of mind that your estate will be handled according to your wishes. However, this is only partially true. While creating a will is critical to ensuring your beneficiaries and assets are protected, it’s necessary to understand that the terms and conditions you’ve noted in your will can change over time. As such, you may need to amend your will to ensure it accurately reflects your wishes. The following blog explores the steps you must take under the guidance of PA wills, trusts, & estates attorneys if you need to change or update your estate planning documents.

Why might I need to change the terms of my will?

There are several reasons someone may need to change the terms and conditions of their will. As your life changes, your wishes will likely do, so your estate plan should reflect these matters.

One reason you may want to change the terms of your will is because your family has changed. Whether there was a birth, death, marriage, or divorce, updating your beneficiaries ensures only those you want to receive assets will. For example, if you get a divorce, you don’t want to leave your ex-spouse as the inheritor of your entire estate, so taking the necessary steps to update this document will ensure it reflects your new wishes.

Additionally, if you come into new assets, such as purchasing a new property or receiving a large inheritance, you’ll want to ensure your estate plan accounts for these assets. As such, updating your plan to include them and how you want to distribute them upon your death is essential, as if you do not, these assets could be subject to probate.

What must I do to amend my will?

If you wish to amend your will, you generally have two options. This first is recommended for minor changes, and that is to include a codicil. Essentially, this is a document explaining the small change you wish to make that is attached to your will.

However, if you need to make significant changes, it’s in your best interest to create a new will. You should destroy the original copy and re-write it with the new changes in mind. This is because creating too many codicils can be contested, and your will may be deemed invalid.

When you need to make changes to your will, understanding the importance of connecting with an experienced estate attorney is critical. If you try to navigate this process without legal guidance, you risk making an error when adding the codicil or re-writing your will that renders it invalid, meaning your wishes won’t be honored. As such, connecting with an experienced attorney from Friedman Schuman to help you navigate this process is critical. Contact our team today to learn how we can fight for you during these complex matters.

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