Can I make changes to my original copy of my Will after I had it prepared by an attorney?

Also, does a Will have to be filed before death?

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

By "make changes" do you mean can you physically write on the Will to make changes to it?  No, no, no.  Absolutely not.  If you do anything to alter the Will - anything: write on it, unstaple it, anything - you will void the Will.  In order to change the Will you will need to have an attorney draw up a codicil to the Will or have a new Will drawn up entirely if the changes are really a lot.  Does a Will have to be filed?  No, it does not have to be filed.  It can be filed with the Court if you choose it to be but it is not required under New York State law.  In fact, some do not advise filing the Will for the very reason that you ask this question: what if a subsequent Will is drawn up?  Good luck to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.