If I have a Will but need to make a change in beneficiaries, what can I do to get this done without more legal bills?

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If I have a Will but need to make a change in beneficiaries, what can I do to get this done without more legal bills?

Is there anyway I can just write in the changes and maybe have it notarized by someone or do I have to contact a lawyer to do so?

Asked on February 28, 2018 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You will have 2 options if you decide to update your Will; you can prepare and sign a new Will that revokes the earlier one, or you can prepare and sign a codicil (i.e. an amendment) to your existing Will. Basically, a codicil is a separate document that adds to or replaces one or more provisions in an existing Will. In the past, codicils were used often since they were less time-consuming than creating a new Will. However, computer programs can now enable lawyers to quickly make revisions to a will, so the cost of a new Will is minimal. Also, there are inexpensive on-line Will forms that you can fill out yourself; just be sure to follow all legal formalities (i.e. signing in the front of witnesses, etc.). Finally, never try to change a Will by writing in the margins, crossing out words, lines or sections of it. This will only create confusion and may to lead conflicts which can result in your estate not being distribted as you intended.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You will have 2 options if you decide to update your Will; you can prepare and sign a new Will that revokes the earlier one, or you can prepare and sign a codicil (i.e. an amendment) to your existing Will. Basically, a codicil is a separate document that adds to or replaces one or more provisions in an existing Will. In the past, codicils were used often since they were less time-consuming than creating a new Will. However, computer programs can now enable lawyers to quickly make revisions to a will, so the cost of a new Will is minimal. Also, there are inexpensive on-line Will forms that you can fill out yourself; just be sure to follow all legal formalities (i.e. signing in the front of witnesses, etc.). Finally, never try to change a Will by writing in the margins, crossing out words, lines or sections of it. This will only create confusion and may to lead conflicts which can result in your estate not being distribted as you intended.


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