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Amending a Will

As one approaches their middle-aged years, there are few aspects more important than ensuring your loved ones will be able to inherit your estate and valuables once you pass. Knowing that your assets are protected and will be awarded to your preferred beneficiary when you are deceased can bring you peace of mind. In the case you have already established your will, bear in mind that few people keep the same draft of the document throughout their life: circumstances and relationships change, children are added to the family, more assets are accrued, or remarriage leads to new family members. As such, it is not uncommon for wills to be amended to reflect changing circumstances. In amending a will, a person has the option of adding a specific change through a codicil—a single amendment to a will— or rewriting their will altogether.

To determine which option would best suit the change you wish to make to your will, you should examine how big the change is. For example, while adding a child to your will or changing the name of your spouse is a relatively simple amendment, changing which assets will be awarded to whom can be more complex. Once you examine all of the changes you wish to make, you can consult with a knowledgeable elder law attorney to verify the best route for you to take.

Reasons to Amend a Will

Whether you choose to add a codicil or completely rewrite your will, you will need the presence of two adult witnesses who can verify you are of sound mind and are not acting under duress. While remarriage and divorce are among the most common reasons for changing a will, other factors they may necessitate an amendment include:

  • A change in relationship to another person or family member
  • A change in your assets
  • A change in location
  • Death of a beneficiary
  • A change in tax laws
  • Starting a business
  • Addition of family members
  • You have not examined your will in the past three years

Periodically updating your will is crucial to ensuring your assets are divided according to your preferences. Failure to analyze your will every so often can lead to unintended beneficiaries of your property and belongings.

Consult with an Elder Law Attorney in Chicago

If you would like to revisit the terms of your will, a proficient elder law lawyer can help you make sure all of your interests are accounted for and legally enforced. Don’t hesitate to contact our legal team at Peck Ritchey, LLC by calling our Chicago offices at (855) 328-5787 for more details.