Is Your Estate Safe? Make Changes to Your Will in 6 Easy Steps
Your estate and all assets are only fully protected under an official living will.
Even after you have established that will, your situation may change. A birth, child adoption, beneficiary death, marriage, divorce, changes of opinion.
What is the best way to account for these changes?
Steps For Updating Your WillA will is a legal document.
In order to update the contents, you have to follow by a specific set of steps.
Step 1 - Start Over Or Draft a CodicilYou don’t have to start a new will, but it can be much simpler than updating an existing document.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, you can create new codicils within the existing will.
A codicil is defined as any change that is made, which is signed and dated in front of an official witness. But, experts often warn against the use of codicils in modern wills, because they can be contested.
Whether you are using a new will or codicil, several terms must be met for the document to be valid:
- You are of legal age (18).
- The document is handwritten (there are some exceptions).
- It names the will as your last wishes for your property.
- Two mentally competent adults witness the signing.
- It is signed by your or someone delegated to sign for you.
- You are mentally competent.
Step 2 - Update or Create a Tangible Personal Property MemorandumA TPPM is a list of items you own, and people who you wish each item to be left to.
Not every state will recognize or require a TPPM, but others demand one already be included when you sign.
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Step 3 - Trash The Old DocumentHaving any copies of an old will can lead to contesting at a later date, or confusion for beneficiaries.
While some experts may claim you should keep a copy to prove intent in new provisions, it is much safer to destroy it.
Step 4 - Approach Sudden Changes With CautionTry and avoid making any changes at the last minute to your will, or consider a competency hearing to prove you are of sound mind before making them.
If someone else is changing your will, issue them power of attorney.
Step 5 - Keep Beneficiaries CurrentYou have to update beneficiaries on all policies and accounts, including life insurance, retirement and bank accounts.
Keep in mind that on some policies and accounts, the beneficiary named on the form may be maintained over the details of a will.
Step 6 - Make Any Other Designation ChangesOther designations to update are the executor of your will (the overseer of your wishes), an alternate executor in the case of the death or capacity status of your original executor, and current power of attorney (if there is on).
Published on Oct 12, 2016By Jackson Cooper