How Often Can I Change My Will?
Everyone’s will needs the occasional update. Your financial situation, living situations, and end-of-life desires might change over just a few months or years. As you increase or decrease your assets or move locations you might consider a change to your will. But, how often can you do this and is there a limit on how many times you can write something in or out of your will? Consulting a Houston family law attorney can help you figure out when it is appropriate to update your will.
When Should You Change Your Will?
Anytime that you have a major life change you should at least evaluate your will to see if there’s anything to update. Changes to your marital status are a substantial reason to reconsider your will. If you get married you will probably want to ensure that your spouse has some protection. Just the same if you get a divorce you will want to edit what they should expect in the event of your death.
Changes in family members such as children is a big deal too. Many people will write out or remove children from their will under specific circumstances such as chronic drug use. There’s also the event of adding new children, adopted children, grandchildren and more.
Then you should consider changes to your assets. If you own property then any changes in ownership to that property would justify a will change. Additionally if you own a business you should consider how the business will go over and what process your family should follow to dissolve it or pass it on.
Then there’s location. Texas honors wills in other states but that is not always the case. If your will was not valid in that state or if there were any other outstanding issues then you need to resolve those problems by changing your will.
Can You Change Your Will or Do You Need a New One?
You can make changes, but you have to do so legally. You cannot simply make changes in red pen across your copy at home. You also should not go to a new attorney and attempt to draft a new will without telling them about the existing one.
It’s likely that you not need to create a new will unless you’re absolutely dissolving the entirety of the document. The official term is a codicil. You need to talk to a lawyer about a codicil for your will to make a change. This term refers to the act of making an amendment where you can delete, add, or update sections to your existing will.
Leaving a will out there in the world and making an entirely new will can make for ridiculous amounts of legal trouble for your surviving family members. A codicil requires at least two witnesses and include a self-proving affidavit.
If you failed to make changes correctly, then you will be making it very difficult for those in your will to carry out your wishes. However you can change your will as often as you like as long as you have something to change. You may want to limit yourself to updating it once or twice a year if you’re making constant changes to your assets.
Do You Need to Use a Texas Probate Attorney to Make These Changes?
Yes, unless you are savvy enough to manage the changes and legal forms correctly you will require an attorney. Your will is a critically important document. During the probate process these attorneys often find handwritten notes on wills, or sections crossed out. Unfortunately if you haven’t officially made the changes or amendments then those changes can’t be honored.
Contact Eddington and Worley, Texas Probate Attorneys
An attorney with our Houston LGBTQ law firm will explain that adding codicils isn’t a complication of your will. If anything it makes it very clear by only presenting the changes, rather than having multiple drafts of the same documents. After speaking with a Texas probate attorney you can sleep with some peace knowing that you took the right legal steps to secure your will.
You can update or change your will whenever, or as often, as you please. But keep in mind that this is often a process that can take a toll on a person in terms of going through all the legal matters involved. Keep changes to meaningful moments in life such as marital changes, and changes to your assets. Making these changes can make it easier on your family while they’re handling everything after your death. That is the ideal situation, of leaving your family in a position where they don’t have legal obstacles or work to negotiate.
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