Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Can you just cross out the parts in an old will and write in what you want now?


Once you do a will, circumstances can change. The person you wanted to be your executor twenty years ago (we now call it personal representative) may not be the person you want to do it today. You may want to change who gets your estate or you may have sold land you described in your will. There are many reasons you might need to change your will. However, you can’t just scratch out the old stuff and write in the new. Under Minnesota Statute, wills must be signed and witnessed by two people. It’s also preferable that the two witnesses not have an interest in the provisions of your will. In order to ensure clarity in making changes and to ensure that will requirements are followed, any changes you make should be done through a document that the probate court and estate planners call a codicil. A codicil is a document that formally amends a will and follows the formalities, such as signing and having two witnesses, of a will. If you do a codicil, you should store it in the same place as your original will, so both will be located and filed with the court. If it’s been a while since you did your will, you should speak with a licensed attorney who can help you make sure you amend it properly, so that your estate plan meets your needs now.

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