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How do I update or change my will?

Life is always changing and ever evolving.  In your lifetime, you may marry, divorce, have children, welcome grandkids, switch careers, obtain more assets, and become close to some relatives or estranged from others.  All of these life changes will require that you update your will.  New Yorkers will be glad to hear that amending or even revoking your will can be accomplished with ease.  Our Long Island estate planning lawyers at Merlino & Gonzalez offer an overview of your options for modifying your will.

Using a Codicil to Amend Your Will

For minor changes to your existing will, you may elect to use a codicil.  A codicil is a document that is attached to your original will.  It states the changes you wish to make.  With a codicil, you can revoke certain bequests in the original will, add bequests, acknowledge later born children, and the like.  Codicils must follow all of the same execution requirements as an original will.  You must use great care to ensure the codicil does not cause confusion or conflict with the original will.

Creating a New Will

While codicils are a viable option for updating your New York will, it is often easier, in our computer driven era, to simply revoke your old will and write a new one.  It generally takes less time to go on your computer, make the needed changes, and print out a new will.  In addition, this method will eliminate the potential for conflicts between the codicil and the old will.  You will need to revoke the old will to be certain it does not take effect in the event of your death.

Avoid Using DIY Wills

You have likely noticed online kits marketed to allow you to make or amend your will on your own.  These do-it-yourself wills can be quite dangerous as they may not comply with state law.  A will ruled invalid by the court will leave your heirs entirely unprotected.  Your assets will be distributed in accordance with state law.  Contact an estate planning attorney for experienced assistance with drafting your unique and important will or other estate planning documents today.