Updating your Will with a Codicil

Executing a will is a great way to begin the estate planning process. However, it is important to continually update a will as your circumstances change. Marriage, having children or grandchildren, a major change in your finances, and the sale of a house are all examples of situations where it can become important to update your will.

In California, updating your will can be accomplished by executing a document knows as a codicil. A codicil acts should reference the changes to your old will by paragraph. Much like when you created the original will, you will need two witnesses for the codicil. Importantly, neither of these witnesses may be a beneficiary under a will. After you execute the codicil, it will act as an amendment to the original will. The original document will remain effective, absent the changes in the codicil.

Do not attempt to update your will by crossing out provisions and adding new information on your own. The new information you add will not be considered part of the will if it is challenged in court. You may want to consult a qualified estate planning attorney to insure that any changes to your will are properly executed. This can help provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that your assents will be handed down in the way chose.

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