Changing a Will

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Making a Last Will and Testament is imperative for those who want their estate to be dealt with according to their desires in the event of their death.

Making a Will at an early stage is always a good idea, but it is important to remember that your circumstances and situations may change over the years, which means you need to look into updating or changing your Will regularly.

Attaching a Codicil (see below to know more about a Codicil) to your existing Will can amend your existing Will, but the most practicable way to change a Will is by making a new Will.

Changing Your Will

While distributing your estate, if you discover that the existing Will does not reflect your wishes, you can change your Will.

Circumstances where you might want to change your Will include:

  • You have married, divorced or entered into a significant domestic or de facto relationship;
  • You have a new child, grandchild or stepchild;
  • One of your children has divorced, separated or entered into a significant relationship;
  • Your children now have stepchildren;
  • You have retired or joined a superannuation scheme;
  • Your spouse or partner has died;
  • One of your beneficiaries has died or become incapacitated;
  • You have acquired or disposed of assets; or
  • You no longer want to make a provision for a beneficiary mentioned in your Will

Does a Will ever get outdated?

A Will does not expire, however it can become un updated over time (due to the above reasons).

Considering changing your Will? You can do so in 3 ways.

1. Attaching a Codicil to the Will

Codicil is a separate document that changes certain provisions of the existing Will but leaves all other provisions unchanged. A Codicil must be signed, following the same formalities as that of a Will.

It is recommended that a person should not make more than two to three Codicils. When there are multiple Codicils attached to a Will, there are good chances that either it may contradict each other or cause confusion. If the changes you are considering are significant, then it is recommended to write a completely new Will or consult a Wills and estate lawyer.

2. Make necessary changes to the Will

All the alterations made in the existing Will should be duly signed and dated in the presence of the witnesses in the same way as done for the original Will.

3. Make a new Will

If there are significant changes, it is best to write a completely new Will. Does making a new will cancel an old Will? Yes, a new Will automatically cancels or revokes all the existing Will(s).

Learn more:

Cancellation of your Will

There are certain situations under which your Will is automatically cancelled, and this should be borne in mind when you plan to change a Will. Automatic cancellation of your Will can occur under the following circumstances:

  • Destruction of the Will: If your Will is destroyed, it is deemed to be cancelled and therefore you need to make a new one in order to have a Will in place.
  • Marriage: If you get married or you remarry, your existing Will may be cancelled. The only exception to this is if you make your Will in contemplation of the marriage.

If you are considering changing your Will, feel free to contact our team of experts at Owen Hodge Lawyers. We can offer legal advice about changing your Will and estate planning.

Further information relating to Wills:

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Frequently asked questions

Beneficiaries cannot change a Will if it is legal and valid. However, beneficiaries can contest a Will if they believe they have been unfairly provided for or left out entirely.

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The process of changing your Will is quite complicated, so it’s highly recommended you engage a specialist lawyer.