We get it, life happens. Especially in 2020. When big things happen, you may need to change your last will and testament or other estate planning document. But how do you make sure those changes are legal and effective? The Law Office of Lori Vella can help.
When Should I Change My Last Will?
There are many reasons why you may want or need to change your will. Some of them may be mandatory, while others are not. Here are some of the most common reasons people edit their wills:
- You Have A Child (Or Another Child) – Whether this is your first child or your fifth, your will should be amended to make sure your assets are distributed between them how you would want them to be.
- You Get Divorced – Many people leave a large majority of their assets to their spouse, but after a divorce, you are likely to rethink that.
- You Purchase A Large Asset – Whether it’s a new home, a rare piece of art, or some other valuable piece of property, make sure it goes where you want it to after your death.
- An Executor or Beneficiary Dies – If someone named in your will dies before you, you will want to reassign their duties or share of your assets.
Of course, these are not the only reasons you can change your last will. Maybe you just changed your mind about who gets the baseball card collection or the shiny red convertible. Regardless of the reason, you should always make sure your Last Will is changed to match your wishes.
Get Legal Help Changing Your Last Will or Trust
There are certain Florida laws that must be followed in order for your new will to legally add to your old one. Your new will must still meet all of the same requirements as your old will. To make a change to an existing will, Florida law requires the use of a legal document called a codicil. There are also ways to completely revoke the old will and replace it with a new written will.
Why a New Will or Trust is Better
Although it seems easy enough to simply change or amend your current Last Will or Trust, at times, it is more cost-efficient and safer to obtain a new Will, or to “restate” the Trust (the trust stays the same but the verbiage is re-written). Many attorneys hesitate to change a document drafted by another attorney. It forces us to take on the liability as to the accuracy of that document, and our malpractice insurance may not cover that. Further, with the legal updates, it often makes more sense to obtain an up-to-date document that is not muddied by confusing attached amendment.
Lori Vella is an Estate Planning and Business Attorney. She works virtually throughout Florida and New York, but has her home office in Tampa, Florida. She is mom to a little boy which ignited the passion for helping other families. She and her son enjoy car rides, playgrounds and taking mini-adventures. They also have an organic garden that surprisingly yields vegetables. Lori considers herself well-versed in Seinfeld and welcomes any trivia!
Disclaimer: The Law Office of Lori Vella’s website contains general information directed to Florida residents. This firm does not intend to give legal advice through its pages and/or blog. If you need legal advice, we encourage you to find an attorney licensed in your state. This language on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and this firm.