Old Man reviews and signs his final testament

Reviewing and Updating Your Will

The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC  Oct. 19, 2023

A will is not a one-time document; it's a living, breathing legal instrument that should evolve as your life changes. Regularly reviewing and updating your will ensures that it accurately reflects your wishes and protects the interests of your loved ones. Updating your will doesn't necessarily mean completely redrafting it. Depending on the nature and extent of changes required, you may be able to make amendments or add an addendum, known as a codicil. 

Neglecting to review your will can have serious implications. Outdated wills can distribute assets in a manner that no longer aligns with your wishes, potentially leaving your loved ones in a difficult position. Regularly reviewing and updating your will with the guidance of an experienced attorney, like The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC, can help you avoid these potential pitfalls. 

If you are in need of a will review and update, reach out to The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC for assistance. The firm proudly serves clients throughout Southern California, including those in Redlands, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, and Palm Springs.  

When to Review and Update Your Will

There are several key life events that should trigger a review of your will: 

Marrying or Divorcing 

Marriage or divorce significantly alters your familial status and thus warrants a careful review of your will. Some jurisdictions automatically void existing wills upon marriage, while others may invalidate provisions favoring an ex-spouse upon divorce. 

Gaining or Losing Assets to Be Inherited 

When your financial landscape changes—be it through the acquisition of property, sale of assets, or alterations in your investment portfolio—it's crucial to update your will to ensure these assets are properly accounted for and distributed according to your wishes. 

Adding or Losing Children or Grandchildren 

The arrival of a new family member (by birth, adoption, or marriage) or the loss of a loved one should prompt a review of your will. You may wish to include provisions for their care or inheritance or revise existing ones. 

Changing Guardians, Witnesses, Beneficiaries, or Executors 

Changes in relationships, circumstances, or even the passing of time may necessitate changes in your choice of guardians for minor children, witnesses to your will, beneficiaries of your estate, or executors charged with carrying out your instructions. 

Making a Change (Codicil) vs. Drafting a New Will

When updating your will, you have two primary options: making a change through a codicil or drafting a new will. A codicil is a separate document that details changes to your existing will, be it modifications, additions, or deletions. It must be signed and witnessed just like the original will. Codicils are especially useful for minor changes. 

However, if your alterations are extensive or complex—such as those following a remarriage or major shift in assets—it may be more appropriate to draft a new will. This ensures clarity, avoids potential contradictions between multiple codicils, and offers a fresh start to reflect your current wishes accurately. 

Don’t Leave Your Future to Chance 

Reviewing and updating your will is not a mere administrative task but an essential part of effective estate planning. Regular updates ensure that your will continues to protect your interests and provide for your loved ones according to your most recent wishes. Always consult with a legal professional to guide you through this process, ensuring your peace of mind. 

With the experience and personalized approach of The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC, you can ensure that your will is up-to-date and aligns with your current circumstances and preferences. Take control of your future today. Reach out to The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC today for a comprehensive will review.