If you have made a last will and testament, kudos! You have taken a very important step in protecting your estate and providing for your family after you are gone. However, this should not be a static, one-and-done document. Things change – life circumstances change – and those changes often need to be reflected in your will.
Reasons to Amend a Will
There are many different circumstances that can warrant changing your will in Colorado:
- Marriage or divorce
- Birth or adoption of children
- Death of loved ones named in your will
- Purchase or sale of expensive things (home, car, boat, etc.)
- Significant change in relationships with other people named in your will (beneficiaries, executors, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, etc.)
- Shift in values that may alter ancillary documents (living will, funeral arrangements, etc.)
Codicil vs. New Will
If you need to make only minor edits to your will, an estate planning attorney can prepare an amendment, known as a codicil, to your existing will. The codicil can outline exactly what changes you wish to make in your will.
If you want to make extensive changes, an estate planning attorney may need to write an entirely new will and revoke the old one. A new will may also be recommended if you have made previous changes and the document is becoming confusing.
A codicil can be handwritten and attached to your current will. Make sure to use the proper title of Codicil on the document and include the full date you are making the change as well as your signature. In Colorado, the codicil must be signed by at least two witnesses or notarized. However, it is recommended that the codicil have both witnesses and a notary stamp. It is not recommended that you make changes to your will through a Codicil without the assistance of a Denver estate planning attorney. Wills typically contain numerous cross references and if you are not mindful of them, there could be inconsistencies in your will which could give rise to litigation upon your death.
If a new will is created, all copies of the old will should be destroyed so there is not confusion in the future about which one is the most current.
How to Determine if Will Amendments are too Extensive for a Codicil
There is no simple formula to determine whether a codicil will be sufficient for the amendments to a will. If you are uncertain how to amend your will, it is best to enlist professional help from a Denver estate attorney. The team at Brown & Crona, LLC can advise you on the most cost-efficient and legally-binding method to updating your will. The last thing you want to happen is to have your codicil be deemed invalid because it was not properly set up. While you may never actually witness the results of the errors (because you are gone), your family may be left with messy infighting or general confusion as to your wishes.
To discuss the various methods of amending your will in Denver, contact the experienced team at Brown & Crona, LLC today: call (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.