There are specific legal procedures for making changes to a last will and testament – including using a codicil to a Last Will. So if you want to make a change, don’t simply cross out the part you want to change and pencil in your revisions. Your changes are not likely to be honored, and you could end up invalidating the entire will.
To make a valid change to your last will & testament, you must either make a new will or add a “codicil,” which is an amendment to your will. This is a document that amends rather than replaces an existing last will. It requires the same formalities as to execution as does a last will & testament.
Again, it’s desirable that a witness to a codicil not be a beneficiary, as this precludes them from inheriting in some states.
Sometimes probate courts are faced with interpreting whether a testamentary document executed after the date of a last will & testament is intended as a new will, or merely as a codicil. If the document doesn’t entirely revoke the earlier will, and doesn’t completely dispose of the testator’s estate, the presumption is that the document is a codicil.
If there is room, a codicil is normally added to the original last will form immediately beneath the signatures. It’s worth mentioning that it must be typed, not handwritten, to avoid being struck down in certain states. If there is no room to add text after the signatures, it should be typed on a separate sheet of paper, and attached to the original will. In fact, it is often best to start a codicil on a separate sheet of paper – and we recommend this approach.
As with wills, codicil forms are available on the net for a reasonably small fee. Be sure to choose a good codicil kit prepared by a company with solid estate planning experience. A good kit gives examples of how the codicil should be constructed and the types of clauses used. Be sure to purchase your kit or codicil from a reputable vendor. Alternatively, you can have a lawyer prepare a codicil to will on your behalf.
How Can EstateBee Help You?
For more information on wills, check out some of our other articles on wills in our Learning Center.
If you would like to make a codicil, check out our Codicil to Last Will & Testament Kit. This self-help legal kit includes step-by-step instructions, detailed information and all the legal forms necessary to prepare your own document without the need or expense of engaging a lawyer. It also includes various examples of the changes that you might wish to make to your will.
If you would like to make a last will and testament, check out our Online Will Writing Software. Its free to try and you can make a will in as little as 10 minutes. It’s also one of the leading estate planning softwares on the market.
If you have any questions about our products or services, please contact our customer service team who would be delighted to assist you.