Changing Your Will

How to change or revoke your will

Having a will is an important step in your life in order to protect your own asset and safely transfer to your beneficiary in the future. Times will come when you need to change your will due to many reasons.

Here is an instruction on when and how to change your will and how to revoke or cancel your will if you need to. It is very important to follow these instructions carefully should you desire to make any changes to your will. If you attempt to change your will by simply crossing out a name or penciling in an addition could have the disastrous effect of voiding portions of, or even worse, your entire will. These instructions are not too difficult to follow, but you need to remember that they are very important and always ensure that your will remains legally valid at any time.

If you want to totally revoke your will, there are two legally acceptable methods:

First, you can simply sign a new will that expressly states that you revoke all prior wills that you have written on your own decision. Secondly, completely destroy, burn, or mutilate your will while it is in your possession, if you actually intend that there should be a revocation of your will.

In any case, do not attempt to change any portions of your will by any other method that you might think of. For example, never attempt to add provisions in the margin of your will, whether you type or write them in. Do not try to cross-out any portions of your will for any reason. These are not acceptable methods for the modification of a will and could lead your will to a court battle situation where they will have to determine its subsequent validity.

Following are standard clauses for changing provisions of your will and a general form for a codicil. Insert such changes as are necessary where indicated on the form. Prepare the codicil the same way as you prepared your original will using the following simple list of instructions:

  1. It is always good practice to make a photocopy of the codicil form. Using the photocopy as a worksheet, fill in the appropriate information for each chosen clause. For the main clause indicating the changes to your will, use one or more of the following phrases. If you wish to change a particular sentence in your will, you should first revoke the original sentence and then add the new sentence. If you merely wish to add new material to the will or revoke a portion of the will, use only one of the phrases below:

I revoke the following sentence of my will:

or,

I add the following sentence to my will:

  1. On your photocopy worksheet version, cross out all extraneous material that will not become a part of your codicil. Carefully reread your entire codicil to be certain that it is exactly as you wish.
  2. After making any necessary changes, type or have typed the entire codicil on good quality 8 x 11” typing paper.
  3. After you have completed typing your codicil or having it typed, make sure to fill in the total number of pages in the Signature paragraph in your document. Do not yet sign your codicil or fill in the date in any of the spaces indicated because it is not yet decided and you might want to change at a later time.
  4. Again, proofread your enter codicil very carefully and thoroughly. Be certain that there are no errors or mistyped letters. If there are any errors, retype that particular page and make them very clean and error proof. Do not attempt to correct any errors with type- correcting fluid or tape, or with erasures of any kind as those are not looking as professional. Another thing to keep in mind is that you do not cross-out any words and do not add anything to the typewritten words using a pen or pencil.
  5. When you have a perfect original of your codicil, with no corrections and no additions as indicated above, then go ahead and staple all of the pages together in the upper left-hand. You are now ready to prepare for the execution (signing) of your codicil.

If you would like to prepare a will, you can use Free Will Forms but make sure that you have the form signed. Any signed form is legally binding, so ask lawyers or attorneys for any questions. For easy downloadable legal forms, go online and search for legalforms and you can find many important legal forms and documents such as Living Will, Power of Attorney and Estate Planning.