What to do if we had a Will drafted several years ago and need to update/change it?

We had a Will completed several years ago and 1 child ago. If we want to change it add our son’s name to it and change the legal guardian, do we need to create a new one or can we just update the new one with current date? Does a Will need to be notarized to be legal?

Asked on May 21, 2016 under Estate Planning, Minnesota


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When a Will needs a minor change, something known as a "codicil," (i.e. an amendment) can be executed instead of drafting a new Will and having it signed. However, for more material changes, it is advisable to execute a new Will. In your case, having a new Will executed might be best, especially if there have been other changes that might also need revision. To keep down costs, you could get a Will form for your state online. That should work for you. However, if you want to make sure that your Will is properly written, you can then choose hto ave an attorney review it for you; it's a cheaper alternative since they wouldn't also have to draft it. Finally, a Will needs to be witnessed but it does not have to be notarized.
That having been said, if you want your witnesses to sign a "self-proving affidavit," (which is optional), then you will need a notary. A self-proving affidavit is a sworn statement by you and your witnesses that the Will that was signed is valid. If such an affidavit is attached ot your Will, then if a witness can't be located to testify about the validity of the Will at some future date, then the notarized affidavit can suffice.

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