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How to make changes to your will

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2021 | Family Law |

If you did your estate planning several years (or decades) ago, you should take a look at it. There may be things in there that need to be changed. For example, your ex-spouse might still be listed as an heir in your will or beneficiary to your trust, while your current spouse is not. Or the instructions in your advance healthcare directive might no longer reflect your desires.

Whatever changes or updates you want to make to your will, you must do it according to the methods laid out in Florida’s estate planning laws, or the probate court might not accept them when the time comes. The three most common ways to make changes to your will are:

Write a new will

If you need to make extensive enough changes, it may be easier to start over and write a new will. Once you are done, you need to make it clear that the new will — and not the old one — is valid and the one you want to be submitted to probate. This can be done by destroying the old will in front of witnesses while stating your intentions. Or you can write “revoked” on each page, adding your signature and initials. It’s essential to take care of this to avoid confusion.

Create a codicil

A codicil is a legal document that you can use to amend an existing will. You can use one to make virtually any changes to your will you can imagine. Keep in mind that Florida requires that you follow the same rules for creating a will when drawing up your codicil, including signing it in front of two witnesses.

Add a personal property memorandum

If your will includes a personal property memorandum, you can create a new one with changes to how you want your property distributed. This makes the most sense if you are bequeathing specific gifts to your heirs instead of dividing your estate evenly between them. For example, let’s say in your original memorandum, you left your classic Corvette to your oldest daughter. Later, you sold the car. You can make a new memorandum removing the bequeathing of the Corvette and giving her a different gift instead.

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