Circumstances in your life change, and you may reach a juncture at which you believe you need to change some provisions in your last will and testament. There are certain procedures needed to both draft and implement an amendment to your last will and testament. The failure to do so properly will result in any changes made being ineffectual.
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Things you need
- Last will and testament
- Amendment to last will and testament
Identify the specific provisions or terms of your existing will that you want to alter or eliminate. You can also make new additions to your existing will.
Prepare an introductory paragraph on the amendment referring to the will you intend to amend, specifically listing the date the original will was executed by you.
Note in the introduction to the amendment that you are of sound mind and body and that you amend your last will and testament of your own free will.
List specifically any provisions in the original will you desire to change. Write the precise manner in which you desire these provisions to be altered.
Add any new provisions you desire with the same type of specificity and accuracy used in your original will and testament.
Execute the amendment in the same manner you signed the original will. In other words, sign the amendment in front of a notary public and the same number of witnesses as used with the signing of the original. If possible, use the same witnesses when signing the amendment--although this is not a legal requirement.
Attach the original amendment securely to the original last will and testament.
Store the amended document in a safe and secure location. A safe deposit box is a good choice.
Advise in writing at least one person you trust that you amended your last will and testament.
Tips and warnings
- Drafting and implementing an amendment to a last will and testament requires the proper application of the probate law in your state. In order to ensure that this process is undertaken correctly, seriously contemplate hiring an experienced attorney to represent you. Local and state bar associations maintain directories of attorneys in different practice areas. Contact information for these organisations is available through the American Bar Association:
- American Bar Association
- 321 N. Clark St.
- Chicago, IL 60654-7598
- Consider drafting a new last will and testament in lieu of merely adding an amendment to an existing will. The misplacement of an amendment is a possibility. Moreover, an amendment that materially alters a will is subject to a challenge by individuals impacted by the change following your death. By drafting a new will, you eliminate or at least lessen these and other potential problems.
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