Estate Planning: What To Know About Adding Something To A Will

There is something comforting to both you and your loved ones just knowing that you have a last will and testament. Creating a will, however, is not a task that never needs to be revisited. Wills should be reviewed every once in a while (once a year or so, for example) and changes should be made. Read on to learn more about how to go about making changes to your will.

When Should You Update Your Will?

Any time you experience a major financial or life change, consider taking another look at your will. For example, you should update your will if you or someone close to you marries, dies, divorces, has a baby, adopts a child, and so on. Even if your year has been exceptionally event-free, it's always important to re-read the will and ensure that you still have the same interests in leaving something to a charity or other institution as you did when you made the will. You might also have second thoughts about leaving something to a loved one or you might want to change the amount you are leaving to a friend.

How It Used to Be Done

Long ago, making changes to documents like wills entailed a lot more work. Wills are one of those legal documents that have been around for a long time and hearken back when making out a will involved using a quill and ink. To avoid having to laboriously redo an entire document, like a will, a method for adding onto it was created. A codicil (roughly, Latin for "little writing") allowed lawyers to add corrections, amendments, and additions to a document by adding additional documents that were incorporated into the will.

Enter the Word Processor

Nowadays, wills and other important documents are created on a computer and stored on a file. That means that corrections and changes can be made in an instant. If the changes that need to be made are extensive, the will can be re-done in a very short amount of time. In most cases, your attorney will make note of the changes you wish to make and advise on the legality or potential consequences of those changes. The update can be made and you will sign the corrected copy or the new will.

That being said, there are many probate and estate attorneys who still like to use a codicil to update a will. As the creator of the will, you can rely on the changes to be legal and valid no matter what method of updating your attorney prefers. Often, however, you will need witnesses to sign along with you when you make changes either by a codicil, a new will, or a corrected will.

For more information, reach out to accountants who are experienced in estate planning like Bliss & Skeen CPAs.