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Changing Your Will

You wrote your will. You had all of the documents notarized, spoke with an estate lawyer; everything is in place. A few years pass, maybe ten, maybe twenty. You have a will, what need is there to change it? Well, sometimes, it?s necessary. You may have experienced love, loss, heartbreak, bankruptcy, seizure of goods or property, etc. which all play into what you have written and left in your will. Keeping these things up to date to protect not only you but your family is very important. Let?s explore some scenarios.

If you get married, both you and your spouse should consider drafting new wills for a number of reasons. Many states have laws that grant a percentage of your accessible assets upon death to your spouse or having a spouse might affect the amount of your estate a previous beneficiary was to receive from the will. If you have a partner and are not married, your partner will subsequently not receive those marriage benefits by law. If you want them to be eligible, either get married or draft a new will. Remember, children and step-children are dealt with differently automatically: Most states will grant a biological child a portion of your estate upon death, whereas step-children are almost never automatically included in this process.

Whether you?ve been blessed with a new child or a new partner, it?s clear a new will might be necessary. If you?d like to change your will, you must make sure to revoke the former will via a statement in the new. If you don?t, there is the possibility of the previous will being used to challenge the latest, so don?t forget. There is another option for altering a will: A codicil. A codicil is essentially a change or amendment to a will. You can use this to remove, alter, or add parts to a will. This must be signed, dated, and witnessed just like any other legal will document.

Because of all of these factors which may alter your estate and concurrently, your will, it is recommended to review your will once a year to make any changes you may need to consider. Award, Fischer, Rice, Row & Graf draft a wide range of documents, such as Wills and Trusts. Consider Alward, Fischer, Rice, Row & Graf for your estate planning and will-altering needs.