Providing Peace Of Mind
For You And Your Family

Can I update my will or make a new one?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | Firm News |

Virginians are independent folk, and we grow with time. This is why, even if you have a will, you may want to update your will or even make an entirely new one. And, the answer is that you definitely can.

Why update it?

So, why update your will? Life changes, and your estate plan should change with it. For example, your heirs change. They, hopefully, increase. You could get married, perhaps, divorced, remarried or widowed. Your children could begin having children. And, if you are lucky enough, you could even begin having great grandchildren.

Your assets will grow. You may move to different states. You may just change your mind later in life or want to change who you trust as your executor. These are all reasons to restructure your will.

How to update it

You update a Virginia will through either making a codicil or by making a new will. A codicil is essentially an amendment to your existing will without revoking it entirely.

Codicils are executed the same as a will as they must be done in writing, signed by you (or at your direction in your presence) and two witness signatories as well, who both must be present at the same time and in your presence. The codicil must refer to the date and content of your original will and clearly state what is being modified. Keep the codicil with the original will, and make sure at least your executor knows where it is located. Though, your beneficiaries should also know too.

The other option is making a new will. This is usually the preferred option if you are making substantial changes to the original will, or the changes you plan to make will be confusing with the original terms that will be left. The requirements of a new will are the same as that of the codicil, but you must also include a statement that expressly revokes the original will (and any subsequent codicils). Destroy all old wills and codicils.

Updating your will is a natural part of the estate planning process of a life well lived. It is something that you should do, and you should periodically look at your estate plan to make sure it does not need to be updated.