There are various reasons why you may want to make changes to your will, such as an altered financial situation, or the addition of members to your family. In fact, it is advisable to review your will every few years to check if it still reflects your wishes. Wills can either be added to, or revoked and replaced with a new will.
If someone named in your will has died, or if you have recently become a parent or grandparent, you will probably want to make changes to ensure your estate can be passed on fairly and without dispute. Marriage in England or Wales automatically revokes an existing will, so you will definitely need to make a new will in this case.
Divorce doesn’t revoke a will, but bear in mind your ex won’t be able to benefit from it, so your intentions will probably need rethinking. Do not attempt to alter an existing signed will, as this will not be considered a legally valid change. You will either need to add a codicil, or supplement, to the original will, or make a new will.
A codicil is suitable for making small straightforward amendments to a will, such as changing an executor or adding a beneficiary. The codicil must be signed by the person who made the will, and be witnessed, although the witnesses do not have to be the same as for the original will. However, they must not be someone connected to beneficiaries named in the codicil.
You can add any number of codicils to a will, but for more major or complex changes, it’s best to make a new will. This will help to avoid confusion and disputes when the administration takes place. State clearly in your new will that any previous wills are revoked, and destroy your old will and all copies yourself, either by shredding, tearing or burning.
Make sure you tell your executor where your new will is kept, so they can retrieve it when the time comes.
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