With each milestone and life event, your life is impacted. Whether it is for the better or worse, these changes not only alter what your life looks like but also your perspective. As a result, many facets of your life adjust to this, including your will.
Although the contents of the will were current and relevant during its drafting, this can all change with each life event. Thus, this gives reason to update a will. However, if a will is not properly updated prior to your death, this might give rise to legal actions for revocation or challenging the validity of the document.
Why update your will?
A common reason to update a will is due to a major life event. These include getting married, getting divorced, getting remarried, having a child, the death of a personal representative, the death of an heir or beneficiary, a deteriorated relationship with a family member or friend, acquisition of real estate or experiencing a financial windfall.
When a will needs to be updated, sometimes the best option is to create a new will. When this new will is created, this will override the old will. In other words, the old will is revoked.
In contrast, if you do not seek to draft an entirely new will, it is possible to create a codicil. This is a supplemental document attached to an existing will. This document can modify, explain or add provisions to the current will.
Challenging a will
When a will is updated through the creation of a new will or supplemented with a codicil, this could give rise to some concerns. Depending on the situation, heirs or beneficiaries might question whether there was undue influence, they were of sound mind, the testator was tricked into signing the document or the signature was forged. Any of these situations could give cause to challenge the validity of the will.
Estate planning issues can be complex. While there are various ways to address them, it is important to understand how best to resolve these issues. Whether you are drafting a will or seeking to update it, a legal professional can help ensure your rights are protected and wishes are memorialized in your estate plan.