Your Will: What if You Change Your Mind?
When your Will is signed, you have peace of mind that your wishes are recorded. But what if you change your mind?
It is common for people to have second thoughts after they make their Will. In fact, reviewing your Will at least every three years is important because you might need to reflect changes that occurred in the interim including:
- A substantial change in circumstance: Coming into an inheritance or a financial windfall could alter the strategy of your estate plan and your Will. Similarly, if your economic condition declines, language in your Will may no longer be suitable.
- Family dynamics: If an individual named in your Will to receive a significant portion of your estate dies or becomes divorced from you, a revision is needed. Other common family transitions include a marriage or a new child. If you have a new partner to whom you are not married, a change in your Will and trust structure can ensure they receive a portion of your estate if you wish. If they are not named in an outdated Will, they receive nothing.
- Change of heart: Although you carefully prepared your Will, your thinking may change over time, leaving you with the desire to change your Will.
When you want to change your Will, how do you do it?
Revising your Will
While you are mentally and physically capable, you can make changes to your Will or create a new one. Give some thought to the following:
- Make your changes legal: Writing over language in your Will and initialing your changes is not sufficient to change the power of your Will. Hand altering a Will could call the validity of the entire instrument into question or cause the hand-noted change to be disregarded. Amending your Will is similar to creation of your original Will. The amending document is called a codicil and remains with the Will after it is executed by you.
- Significant changes: If you make a significant change to your Will, a new document should be prepared. When replacing a Will, your estate planning attorney includes revocation language to exclude any previously prepared Wills or codicils that are in effect.
Too often important lifetime changes are not reflected in the directions we leave after our death. When circumstances in your life change, or if you have not reviewed your estate plan in several years, speak with a skilled estate planning attorney in Hunterdon County or Union County, New Jersey. We have offices in Lebanon and Springfield, New Jersey.