How Do I Update My Will?

Executing a last will and testament is a great first step in a comprehensive estate plan. However, it is important to not stop there. You should periodically update your will as your circumstances change. For example, getting married, having children or grandchildren, and significant changes in finances are all situations after which it is important to update your will.

Grandfather helping the grandchildren with the...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite what many believe, you cannot update your will by simply crossing out provisions and adding new information as you please. New information will not be considered part of the will, unless you follow state law regarding updating your will. Many states including California allow for residents to update a will by drafting a document known as a codicil. A codicil will specify all of the changes you wish to make and reference the paragraphs of the old will that you are changing. California law requires a codicil to be executed with many of the same requirements as the original will, including two witnesses.

A properly executed codicil will act as an amendment to the original will. This means that the original document will remain effective, except for the changes listed in the codicil.  You will then have the peace of mind of knowing that your assents will be handed down in the manner you chose.

If you would like assistance drafting a codicil to your will or with any other aspect of estate planning, feel free to contact us at (626) 696-3145.


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