Changing a Will
It is important to keep your will updated to reflect your current situation and any wishes you may have when it comes to deciding how your estate and assets are to be split after death. However, it is important to change your will properly to ensure it is uncontested and determined to be valid in court. If you need help changing a will in Melbourne, FL, please contact J. Scott Lanford immediately.
There are many situations where changing your will is ideal, including marriage, divorce, receiving or disposing of new assets, and the birth of a child. Of course, changing your mind about your heirs and beneficiaries is valid reasoning. You will never need to “prove” why it is necessary to change your will; it can be done at any time. However, the most important thing to do is to ensure you follow the letter of the law. The smallest mistake can leave your will vulnerable to being contested, which can result in your property and assets being divided according to state laws rather than your final wishes. Avoid all of this by making use of our estate planning attorneys in Melbourne, FL.
How to change your will
Create a will codicil
For small changes, you can simply create a will codicil. This is apt when you have very minor changes to make (for example, if a beneficiary has gotten married and you need to update their name, or if you’d rather have a different executor). A codicil is a new document attached to the original will, clearly stating what changes you want to be made. They must be prepared just as your will was; the same requirements attached to the will must be followed exactly, otherwise your will might be deemed invalidate.
Make a new will
In most cases, the best option is to simply create an entirely new will. As codicils require that you follow the same rules as with a will, it’s often easier to just write a new one. However, you must revoke your old will. This means that in your new will, you must clearly state that you revoke all previous wills. You will also need to dispose of all previous wills, although this process varies by state, so please contact us before making any decisions. By following all steps and procedures closely, there will be no confusion when it comes to interpreting your will.
It is important to note that living trusts will not be affected by the terms of your will; if you want to change any terms there, you must add an amendment to the original trust document. Unlike a will, you do not have to revoke a trust and then create a new one. Also remember that there are properties that will be passed down by law, regardless of what your will says. This includes joint bank accounts and life insurance proceeds. If you wish to change the beneficiary of these assets, you must change the names in any forms where you originally named the beneficiary; changing their names in the will has no legal standing.
Make sure you periodically review your will and update it to reflect any important changes. Feel free to reach out to us for more information.
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