Updating Your Will in New York: When and How
Your last will and testament are essential legal documents outlining how you want your assets distributed after passing. However, life is full of changes, and it’s important to ensure that your will reflects your current wishes and circumstances. In this guide, brought to you by Morgan Legal Group, we’ll explore the process of updating your will in New York, including when and how to make these important changes.
Why Update Your Will?
Life events and changes in your financial situation can impact the validity and effectiveness of your will. Here are some common reasons why you might need to update your will:
- Family Changes: Births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and adoptions can significantly impact who you want to include or exclude as beneficiaries in your will.
- Asset Changes: Acquiring new assets, selling assets, or changes in the value of assets can necessitate updates to ensure proper distribution.
- Relocation: If you move to a different state or country, you may need to be updated to comply with local laws and regulations.
- Changes in Executors or Guardians: The individuals you’ve chosen to execute your will or care for your dependents may change over time.
- Tax Law Changes: Changes in tax laws can impact your estate’s financial planning, requiring adjustments to your will.
When to Update Your Will
It’s essential to review your will periodically to ensure its accuracy. A good rule of thumb is to revisit your will and consider updates in the following circumstances:
- Every 3 to 5 years: Regularly reviewing your will ensures it reflects your current intentions, even if no significant life changes have occurred.
- After Major Life Events: Any significant life event, such as marriage, divorce, birth, or death, should prompt a will review.
- When There Are Substantial Financial Changes: Significant changes in your assets, income, or debts may require adjustments to your will.
- When Moving to a New State: If you relocate to a different state, reviewing and potentially revising your will to align with the new state’s laws is crucial.
How to Update Your Will
Updating your will in New York involves specific legal steps to ensure its validity. Here’s how you can go about making changes:
1. Consult with an Attorney
The first step is consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney, like Morgan Legal Group. They can help you understand your proposed changes’ legal requirements and implications.
2. Create a Codicil
If your changes are relatively minor, you can create a codicil, which is a legal document used to amend or supplement your existing will. It must meet the same formal requirements as your original will and should be signed and witnessed accordingly.
3. Draft a New Will
If your changes are substantial or if you’ve already created multiple codicils, it may be advisable to draft a completely new will that incorporates all the changes. Your attorney can help you create a new will that accurately reflects your updated wishes.
4. Sign and Witness the Changes
When you’re ready to make changes, your attorney will ensure the changes are properly signed and witnessed according to New York’s legal requirements. Failing to do so could invalidate your updates.
Working with Morgan Legal Group
At Morgan Legal Group, our team of skilled estate planning attorneys is dedicated to helping you maintain an up-to-date and legally sound will. We understand the importance of reflecting on your changing circumstances and wishes in your estate planning documents. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and ensure that your will accurately represents your intentions.