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How to Amend a Will

Posted on in Estate Planning

If you have executed a document as your last will and testament correctly, it will last through to the time you die, unless you choose to revoke or amend the will by a properly drafted and executed codicil.

A codicil does not replace, but merely edits a will. It is typically used when certain parts of the will must be changed. It can be used to add or take out parts of a will; any part that is not changed or removed by a codicil will remain in effect until death.

Most often, codicils are used to change relatively small and specific portions of the will. For an example, if a diamond ring is left to a daughter, but then the individual chooses, instead, to leave it to her granddaughter, then a properly executed codicil can be used to complete that request. If that individual loses or sells the ring after drafting the will, the gift of the ring will simply be void and unenforceable at the time of death. A codicil helps an individual to avoid spending the time and money to execute a new will for these small changes.

When drafting your codicil, be sure that it has the intended effect. Three things to keep in mind to be sure that your wishes articulated in the codicil are honored are:

  1. Be specific and clear in your intent
  2. Be sure that your codicil is easy to locate
  3. Be sure that your codicil is properly executed

For minor changes in your will, a codicil is appropriate. If you experience a substantial change to family relationships, however, such as divorce or remarriage, you may want to consider drafting an entirely new will to reflect the new family relationships.

If you are planning to edit your will, contact an estate planning attorney in Illinois for assistance. Attorneys at Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC can help you to execute your will and codicils properly.

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