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How to Change Your Will

You have heeded the advice of all your advisers and created a carefully worded will that details exactly how you want your property distributed after you die. But now, your circumstances have changed, and you want to change your will. How do you do it? Fortunately, it is not as complicated as you would think. 

There are basically two ways to change your will. The first method is to draft a new will that includes the changes. It is important to include a statement in the new will that states that "all prior wills and codicils" that you previously made are revoked. This will prevent any later confusion as to which will should be given effect. Another sound piece of advice is to collect all copies of the prior will and have them destroyed. The last thing you want is your heirs fighting over which of several wills should determine how your property is distributed.

The second way to change a will is by codicil. A codicil is nothing more than an extra clause or paragraph added to your will that explains what has to be changed. In some cases, a codicil makes sense. Suppose you sold a piece of property and it is no longer available to be passed on to your heirs. A brief codicil can explain this. Codicils can, however, be more complicated when they try to revoke certain parts of a will and add others. Anything that adds complexity or uncertainty to your will is not a good thing. Furthermore, a codicil must be witnessed and signed just like a new will would be. In most cases, it is a safer bet just to draft a completely new will that revokes all prior wills and codicils.

If you have questions about amending your will or drafting a new one, see an experienced <a href="">trusts and estates attorney</a> to ensure that it is done correctly.