Changing A Will
Your circumstances and those of your family will change over time – in fact, it would be odd if your situation and circumstances did not change. A new job or loss of a job, a divorce, a new child – all of these things require adjustments in your family’s budget, your living arrangements, and your estate plan. Changing your estate plan does not need to be a time-consuming and tedious process; in fact, if there are only a few minor changes to be made to your existing will, oftentimes these changes can be accomplished through the use of a codicil or written amendment.
Even though a codicil is a less-expensive and quicker way to change a will than simply creating a new will from scratch, you will still want to be aware of a few issues that can arise if your codicil is not properly prepared, executed, and/or stored.
Your Codicil Does Not Replace Your Will
You must remember that a codicil is simply an amendment to an existing will – it does not replace a will you have already created. Therefore, it is important that you keep your codicil together with your will in the same location. If your executor or administrator cannot find your codicil, the terms of your will are likely to be enforced as written. Conversely, if your executor or administrator cannot find your original will, the executor or administrator may know all of the instructions you have for the handling of your estate. Therefore, once you have created a codicil, make sure to keep it in a secure location with your will. You should also inform your executor or administrator that you have created a codicil and where it and your will can be found.
You Must Clearly Indicate the Changes You Wish to Make to Your Will
In order to be effective, your codicil must clearly indicate the changes you are attempting to make to your will. A codicil that is ambiguous or unclear may be disregarded by a probate court. Your codicil should specify the precise term of your will you are changing and reference where in your will this term can be found. The codicil should then clearly and unequivocally state that you are changing this term and how you are changing it.
You Must Generally Comply with the Same Formalities Required to Execute a Will
Your codicil must generally be executed in the same manner as your will. A codicil that is not so executed may (again) be disregarded by a probate court if its admission is challenged.
The De Bruin Law Firm is a South Carolina estate planning firm that can assist you in crafting and amending an estate plan to provide for your children as your family grows and its situation changes. If you have recently acquired a new asset or had a new addition to your family, come see us right away. We will help ensure that your estate plan accurately reflects the wishes and desires you have for your estate and your family if you were to unexpectedly pass away. Contact the attorneys at the De Bruin Law Firm today by phone or by using our firm’s online contact form.