An old Will is only outdated if circumstances have changed. If they have, you may not need a new Will. You may only need a Codicil, a formal amendment to your Will, signed and witnessed with an attestation clause just like a Will and attaching a signed, witnessed and notarized Self-Proving Affidavit.
The American Bar Association lists questions to help you determine whether your documents reflect your current reality.¹
- Have you married or been divorced?
- Have your children married or been divorced?
- Do your children or any other beneficiaries need protection from creditors?
- Have relatives, other beneficiaries, the executor or the guardian died, or have your relationships with them changed substantially?
- Has the mental or physical condition of any of your relatives, other beneficiaries, guardian or executor changed substantially?
- Have you had more children or grandchildren or have children gone to college or moved out of or into your home?
- Have you moved to another state?
- Have you bought, sold or mortgaged a business or real estate?
- Have you acquired major assets (car, home, bank account)?
- Have you inherited significant property?
- Have your business or financial circumstances changed significantly (estate size, pension, salary, ownership)?
- Has your state’s law (or have federal tax laws) changed in a way that might affect your tax and estate planning?
- Have you changed your ideas about what to do with any of your assets?
- Have you decided to do more (or less) charitable giving?
- Have you made gifts that should be taken into account, such as by reducing bequests, that were to occur under your will?
If you do make a new Will or add a Codicil, you might tear up the old one or, to prove that there were no substantial changes caused by undue influence, keep it and write “revoked” on each page with your signature and the date.
Do you need a Will in Texas? Reasons to have a Will, nor not!
Is your Will in order? The right elder law attorney can simplify things while still getting you what you need. Send us a message to Schedule a Consultation.
¹ABA Guide to Wills and Estates 4th ed (NY: Random House 2012), p. 83.
Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.