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It Might Be Time to Revise Your Will

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on March 07, 2012 8:01 AM

As time goes on, life situations change. You may divorce, get remarried, or have children. If you already had a will before these changes occurred, it's probably a good idea to revise your will. One method of revising a will is to simply revoke the old will and draft up a new one.

Another way to revise a will is to create what's called a "codicil." This is essentially an amendment to your will.

The exact requirements to revoke a will or to create a codicil will vary depending on your jurisdiction. Check with your state's laws before you make amendments or change your will. But, below are some basic requirements you should know about if you're thinking about changing your will.

Revoking a will:

To revoke a will, all you typically need to do is compose a statement. The statement should make it explicitly clear that you are revoking and considering all previous wills and codicils void. While this is usually enough to revoke a will, it might be prudent to destroy previous wills to avoid confusion.

After revoking a will, you can go ahead and draft a new will to incorporate any revisions or changes you would like to make.

Adding a codicil:

Codicils can also revise provisions in your will. You can utilize codicils to revoke and amend parts of your will without having to completely destroy the previous version. However, codicils require work. They usually need to be signed, dated and witnessed just like a regular will. In that sense, it requires pretty much the same amount of legwork as revoking a will and drafting a new one.

Plus, using codicils can actually cause confusion. Codicils can be used to challenge the legitimacy of a will and can be more readily lost.

If you are seriously thinking about revising or revoking your will, you should consider consulting with a local wills attorney to get more specific rules about your jurisdiction.

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