How to change a will

TheCheese By TheCheese, 22nd Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Property & Real Estate>Legal Issues

If you are in the unfortunate position that you have created a will but you no longer see it as representing your wishes, there are steps you can take.

How to change a will

Property in general and real estate in particular are things that you definitely want a say in what happens to after you die. Drawing up a will is not necessarily a one time deal however, as your circumstances and wishes can change over time.

The most common route for one to take in revoking a will is the drawing up of a ‘codicil’. A codicil is a document that changes parts of a will, but leaves other sections of the original intact. They are a legally recognised supplement to an older will, often used in cases where the testator (the one who is making the will) has had a major change in their life, such as having a new child, an increase or decline in their wealth, have remarried or divorced or something similar.

To create a codicil one is advised to see a solicitor, charity or legal advisor connected to a body such as a citizen’s advice bureau. If a complicated change to a will is required than one should start a new will. Any codicil that you draw up has identical legal requirements to a will in that the signatures of the testator and, typically, two or three (depending on the jurisdiction) disinterested witnesses.are necessary to make the document legally valid. In England and Wales, codicils are not required to be dated, however it is recommended that they are to avoid any potential issues if another codicil is made and is challenged by a beneficiary.

To draw up a new will it is recommended that you see a solicitor, especially given that you are likely to be looking to address complex needs than you need specific advice on that a trained professional is best qualified to assist you with.

In order to create a new will it is required that you destroy your previous will in such a way as that it cannot be recovered from its remains (burning is acceptable; simply binning it is not), try to do so with any other hard copies besides yours that you know of. Remember: asking your executor to revoke the will does not make it valid, nor does asking them to destroy previous wills or copies. This must be done yourself.
It is important thereafter that you clearly state in your new will that you revoke all previous codicils and wills.

If you haven’t finished drawing up a will and you make a mistake on the document, you can simply correct it using a word processor, or, in the case of a holographic will (a handwritten will) you are required to initial all corrections that you make.

Altering a will is largely a straightforward procedure and should be done as soon as you are aware that your circumstances have changed in a significant way, so as to avoid your loved ones losing out on your legacies to them or the unhappy possibility of your estate having to be managed by a probate court.


Law, Legal, Probate, Wills

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