How to Change or Update Your Will Despite its purpose, a will is a living document, meaning it should be updated or changed

as situations warrant and life changes occur. We discuss how wills are updated or changed. Despite its purpose, a will is a living document, meaning it should be updated or changed as situations warrant and life changes occur. In fact, even if circumstances do not change, a will should be reviewed every three to five years. Life changes that may warrant an update to a will include: • • • • • • • • Marriage/divorce; Birth of a child; A minor child turning 18; Moving to another state; Change in wealth; Purchasing or selling a valuable asset; The death of a beneficiary; and Legislative changes.

Simple updates to a will can be done using a Codicil. A Codicil is a document that amends an existing Will, and it must be properly prepared, signed and witnessed just like a Will. It’s important that a Codicil be stored with the Will. For more extensive changes, you may need to draft a new will. If you draft a new will, your existing will should be revoked. This can be done by not only destroying copies of the existing will, but including a statement in your new will indicating your intent to revoke the old will. One issue that has come to light with ‘do it yourself’ will kits, is a testator, the person drafting the will, attempting to update a will by simply crossing out a portion of the will. This is called a

"partial revocation by physical act," and although it may be allowed in some states, it is not allowed in Oregon, and can cause problems and inconsistencies within the document. Working with an estate planning attorney to draft and update your will ensures that your true intentions are properly drafted in the document and lessens the chance of the will being contested. Experienced estate planning attorneys Portland OR of the Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider LLC offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Portland OR. To learn more about these free resources, please visit http://www.rbsllc.com today.

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