If it’s been several years since you created your estate plan, it may be time to make some changes. Things may be different in your life now, and your priorities may not be the same as when you wrote your will five, 10 or 20 years ago.

For example, if you have gotten divorced since you drafted your will, you probably do not want your ex to be one of your heirs. But if they are still named as an heir in your will, they will get some of your estate — if you do not take action now.

Why people in Eastern Massachusetts update their wills

Other reasons you might want to revise your will include:

  • Marriage
  • New children or stepchildren
  • A committed relationship without marriage
  • You have sold assets that you committed to a specific heir, or acquired assets that need to be accounted for in the will
  • You have changed your mind about who your heirs should be or what they should inherit

Depending on how extensive the changes you need to make are, you have two options: revoking your current will, or adding a codicil. To revoke your will, you need to draw up a new will and include a statement revoking the validity of the old will. Otherwise, there could be a lot of confusion when you pass away. It could be unclear which will is the one you wanted to control the distribution of your assets.

Meanwhile, a codicil is a legal term for an addition or amendment to an existing document. These days, they are rarely used, because computers make it much easier to amend wills than when everything was typed on typewriters.

When revising your will, do it right

To make sure your revisions will be accepted by the court, speak to your estate planning attorney. They will help you make the changes in a clear and legally valid fashion.