Must I change my Will because my daughters have married and have taken their husbands’ last name?

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Must I change my Will because my daughters have married and have taken their husbands’ last name?

I did a Will several years ago. Since then both daughters have married and thus changed their last names. Do I need to change my Will to reflect their new last names?

Asked on August 16, 2011 New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The fact of the matter is that it is not necessary to do anything with repect to your Will in a case such as this. A beneficiary's name change does not prevent them from receiving their bequest. Admittedly, if the person would be difficult to locate and/or identify due to their change of name, then it would be advisable to modify the Will. But seeing as the beneficiaries in question are your daughters, there is no need to do so here.

If you would still feel better updating your Will anyway, it could be done by a "codicil" (i.e. amendment), This is done when changes to a Will are for minor matters such as this; a new Will need not be done. Again, while this is a convenience, there is no legal requirement to make these changes. Failure to do so does not void the bequests.

Note:  If some time has passed since your Will was originally drafted, it might be a good idea in general to have an attorney reviewed due to changes in life circumstances (e.g. property has been bought sold in the interim or other assets have been deleted/added to your estate, etc) or due to changes in the law.


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