Is It Possible to Change a Will in New York?

A hand holding a pen poised over the signature line of an updated will and testament document, indicating the solemn act of finalizing one's affairs.

When you create a will, you may feel as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You’ve protected your assets and beneficiaries, which can help provide peace of mind. However, you may discover that as your life changes, your will may no longer reflect your circumstances. As such, knowing if you can change a will and how to do so is essential. If you need assistance with this process, it’s imperative to connect with a Nassau County estate planning lawyer to walk you through this process. Keep reading to learn more about what you should do if you need to update your estate plan.

Why Might I Need to Change a Will?

Though you may think that creating a will is enough to protect your family, this is not always true. As your life and family change, you’ll need to ensure the terms of your will reflect these changes.

For example, if you create a will before your child gets married and starts their own family, you may not have your grandchildren included as beneficiaries. As such, you may want to update the terms to ensure the new additions to your family are included.

Additionally, if you inherit or purchase real estate or assets, you’ll want to ensure you account for these in your will and determine which beneficiaries you will leave these assets to.

If you do not update your will to accurately reflect the inclusion of new property or family members, your wishes will not be met. Failure to change the terms leaves your property vulnerable to being distributed according to the New York line of succession as opposed to your wishes.

What Should I Do if I Have to Make Updates?

When life changes and you need to make updates to your will, understanding the best ways to do that is critical.

If you need to make minor adjustments, generally the best way to do that is through adding a codicil to the will. Essentially, this is an amendment you can add that serves to update the terms and conditions written in the document. Just like a regular will, you’ll need two witnesses to sign the document.

However, if you need to make substantial changes to the document, the best way to do so is to create a new will. To do so, you’ll need to destroy the old copy and re-write the terms and conditions of the document. It is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney before doing so.

At Barrows Levy, we understand how important your estate and assets are to you. As things in your life change, your estate plan will do. As such, it’s in your best interest to connect with our dedicated team to learn how we can help ensure your will reflects these changes. Contact our firm today to discuss the details of your circumstances.

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