Q&A How do you make changes to a Will?

Q:        I made a Will more than twenty years ago, but since then a few things have become irrelevant. Things like certain bequests of things I no longer have, and a couple of friends I named as beneficiaries who have died. Can I just make some changes by way of a codicil? Or do I need to make a whole new Will?

A:        It is advisable to review your Will every five years or so anyway, to ensure it is still valid and reflects your wishes. Certainly, you should make a new Will when a major life event occurs, such as marriage, divorce or separation, the birth of a child, the death of a relative, or a change in your financial situation. As well as these events having an impact on your wishes for the distribution of your estate, they may also affect the validity of your current Will.

A codicil is a supplement to an existing Will that makes some minor alterations but leaves the rest of the Will intact. Minor alterations could be, for example, changing the cash value of a bequest, adding a bequest or asset, appointing a different executor or trustee, reallocating a bequest, or changing your funeral wishes. The codicil must be on a separate sheet of paper to the Will, and it must be signed, dated, and witnessed in the same way as the Will, in order for it to be legally binding.

You may use a codicil to insert, remove or substitute clauses in your existing Will. You can draft as many codicils as you wish, so you may have a first codicil to your Will and then later a second codicil etc. However, codicils can sometimes cause complications and confuse the instructions rather than clarify them, so you should seek legal advice as to whether it would be best for you to write a codicil or to produce and sign a new Will.

This question has been answered by Ulia Choudhry, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Ulia Choudhry

Ulia Choudhry

Partner

A Partner who specialises in Probate, Wills, Trusts and Tax and is based in Wrexham