Friday, June 1, 2012

How Can I Change My Texas Will Without Creating a Brand New One?

Sometimes, you want to change one little thing in your Texas will without the need to create and sign an entirely new one. For example, one of the persons you identified as your executor has died, and you want to name someone else in his/her place. Or perhaps you’ve had an addition to the family and want to leave a specific item or gift to your new grandchild.

In these situations, a codicil to your Texas will can be created to make the minor change or to add a new provision. The codicil should specifically reference your existing Texas will, preferably by date of execution, and specifically identify the paragraph(s) you are changing or create a new number/section for the information you are adding.  A codicil in Texas should be executed using the same formalities as an original will and can be made self-proving in the same manner as an original will. Make sure that your codicil is placed in the same location as your will, and that your executor is aware of its existence.

However, if you want to make several changes to your will, or something has occurred in your life that substantially alters your previous estate plan (such as a marriage/divorce or birth/adoption of a child), you should execute a new will, under the usual formalities, and specifically revoke the old one. Multiple codicils to a will, or substantial changes to a will via codicil, can become very confusing to your executor or increase the risk that the terms will be inconsistent with each other.

Article by Cynthia W. Veidt, Austin Attorney