When you create an estate plan, you may believe the terms and conditions in your will are written in stone. However, this is far from the truth. In reality, you can revise a will whenever necessary. However, this is not as simple as crossing out the area you wish to amend and rewriting the terms. You must understand why you need PA wills, trusts & estates attorneys to help you navigate this complex process. Keep reading to learn more about how to change the terms of your will.
Why might I need to revise my will?
There are a number of reasons why someone may need to revise the terms of their will. Most commonly, you’ll need to update the conditions to reflect changes in your family. These include marriages, divorce, births, and deaths. For example, if you welcome a grandchild into your family, you may want to update the terms of your will to ensure they receive an inheritance. Additionally, if you and your spouse divorce, you may want to write them out of your will so they do not receive a portion of your estate upon your passing.
Changes in your will can also result from changes in your personal finances. For example, you may obtain considerable wealth from establishing a business or selling assets. As such, you’ll want to ensure your estate plan accurately reflects the increase in your finances to ensure your beneficiaries receive the entirety of your estate.
How do I change the terms of the document?
Generally, the most effective way to update your will is to create a codicil. This essentially acts as an amendment to your will, as it details the changes you would like to make. Through a codicil, you can revoke and rewrite certain sections of your will or add additional information to supplement the division of assets upon your death.
Though you may assume making a simple note on the document is enough to change your will, this is far from the truth. In reality, you must ensure the codicil adheres to the same formal Pennsylvania laws. If you do not follow the laws surrounding the creation of a codicil, you may invalidate your entire will as a result.
It is also important to note that you can rewrite your will. However, this may only be necessary if you plan on changing the majority of terms and conditions written in the document. If you wish to create a new document, you must explicitly state that you revoke the old wills before destroying the old copies.
How can an attorney help me?
If you are interested in updating your will, whether it is to include a grandchild or to completely rewrite the entire document, it is in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. Unfortunately, you may find that failing to update the terms of your will correctly can leave your estate and beneficiaries vulnerable to distribution according to Pennsylvania’s laws of succession. As such, it’s vital to have someone well-versed in the law to assist with any revisions you wish to make to ensure they are legally binding.
When you need to make changes to your will, the team at Friedman Schuman is ready to assist. Our committed firm understands how complex this process can be. As such, we will do everything possible to guide you through this updating your will to ensure your contract reflects your wishes. Contact us today to learn more.