There are a few different methods by which you may be able to make changes to an existing will. If these are minor changes, making an amendment to your will can be done with the support of an experienced estate planning lawyer. In more serious situations in which you want to make drastic changes to a previous document, it is recommended that you revoke or destroy the previous will and create a new document. One way to make small changes to an existing will is to create a codicil. A codicil is a different from an addendum.
Codicils change existing items and statements inside the will whereas an addendum incorporates new elements. If you want to update a person’s name because your beneficiary has recently gotten married, for example, a codicil might be the appropriate way to make a change to this document. This secondary document is attached to your original will, clearly spelling out the changes that you intend to make.
The vast majority of states do accept codicils but only when you follow any rules that typically apply to wills. If you intend to create a codicil it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your estate planning lawyer first to make sure you are both on the same page and that the codicil can be viewed as a valid document associated with your will.
For example, if your state requires that two witnesses signed the original will, you would also need two witnesses to watch you sign your codicil. For more information on using a codicil, schedule a consultation today with an estate planning lawyer so that you can decide if this is the appropriate way to update your will or if another strategy makes more sense.