Life never remains the same and, therefore, it is important to be able
to make changes to a will and ensure that it is kept up to date with the
changes in your life. If your will is not updated, it will cease to reflect
your current wishes. Why might a person want to change his or her will?
There are numerous reasons, including marriage, common law marriage, a
divorce, the birth of a new baby, new stepchildren, moving from a community
property state to a common law property state, or there was simply a change
of heart regarding heirs. Whatever the reason might be, it is possible
to modify your will in Texas. Before you make any decisions, however,
make sure that you consult with a skilled estate planning attorney to
ensure you are taking the best course of action for your circumstances.
How to Change a Will
One of the easiest ways for a person to change his or her will is to make
a new one and revoke your old one. To revoke your old will, you must write
a statement in the new will that states you revoke all wills and codicils
that were previously made. Generally, this is effective enough to revoke
any previous wills you had, though you should also make sure you destroy
your previous wills to avoid the possibility of your new one being challenged.
It is also possible to change your will by adding a codicil, which is essentially
an amendment or addition to your existing will, though these days they
are usually avoided. In order for it to be considered valid, it must be
dated, signed, and witnessed. This method is avoided because they tend
to cause confusion and might even provide a cause to challenge a will.
Changing Other Estate Documents
Additionally, much of your property ends up passing onto certain beneficiaries
by law, despite what your will might say. Retirement proceeds, life insurance
proceeds, joint bank accounts, and stocks that were registered with a
transfer-on-death form will all pass to a specific beneficiary. If you
end up changing your mind about a beneficiary, make sure you change the
names using the forms on which you originally named a beneficiary. Changing
the named beneficiaries through your will does not have the same effect,
so do not make this mistake.
Living trusts are also unaffected by the terms in your will, so if you
do decide to change the terms, you will need to add an amendment to the
original trust document.
Estate Planning Attorney in Houston
If you are interested in making changes to your will, you should seek the
assistance of a skilled
estate planning attorney to ensure everything is done appropriately and all procedures
are followed. At the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny in Houston, our legal
team is backed by over three decades of experience that we will use to
your advantage. You can rely on us to advise you no matter what type of
will you have.
Get started today and
reach out to our law office at (713) 936-2300 to schedule a consultation with one
of our Houston attorneys.