Changing your will is a major step in protecting your wishes when you’re no longer here to defend them. But it’s also something that should undergo some serious thought. Ideally, you’ll want to change your will as little as possible. However, there are certain life changes that almost demand to give your will a little bit of attention.
If you need to make a change to your will, a Houston probate attorney will help you.
Codicil, Redrafting, or Amendment
It’s a hot question in the probate section of the law. What are you trying to accomplish with these changes, and what is necessary to make them effective?
Essentially, if you’re unhappy with your entire will or have undergone serious life changes, then you may need to rewrite the entire will. That means throwing out your old will and starting from scratch. Often when people lose a substantial sum of money or obtain a substantial amount, they will make these major changes and draft a new will.
However, the more common changes to a will only call for a codicil or amendment. They are one and the same. A codicil is the fancy legal term for amending or changing your will. Those changes will be in an attached document to your will, and an attorney will ensure that they’re properly signs and dated to take effect and override the information in your will.
It’s hard to establish a price estimate for either situation. Typically drafting a new will could cost a few hundred dollars to well over a thousand depending on the length of your will and the time your attorney must spend working on it. Additionally, if you choose a more expensive attorney, you should expect a will to become quite expensive. A codicil or amendment could still cost you a few hundred dollars.
Is It Worth It To Return to the Same Attorney?
Usually, it is, and it may be cheaper. Many attorneys will be more comfortable taking on a will that they had already handled or drafted. They know the nuances and details, meaning that they will need to spend less time review the wording of certain sections. However, if you’re looking for a completely new will, then it may be a different situation. In those cases, it would likely be as expensive as any other attorney.
Don’t feel so committed to your first attorney that you aren’t willing to consult with others. If you didn’t feel right about your last attorney or felt that some of the wording didn’t properly represent your wishes, then this is your opportunity to correct those concerns. It is also possible that another attorney could spot a cause of concern or tricky wording that the prior attorney was confident in using.
Is Your Estate Planning Complete?
If you’re considering changing your will, then you should go through the entire estate planning checklist. Have you inventoried your assets and personal items lately? Do you have the information for life insurance policies and other accounts available for your family?
You can also include aspects such as a medical care directive or living will while you’re managing your will changes. It’s often best to take care of all these unpleasant legal activities at once rather than draw them out and make them individual tasks.
Why Is It Necessary to Go Through a Houston Probate Attorney?
Unlike other legal troubles that you might be able to resolve with minimal help, such as resolving a car accident, a will must meet certain criteria to be valid. Within the state of Texas, a person could, in theory, create a holographic Will, or a handwritten will in that person’s handwriting and signed by them. However, that is extraordinarily rare.
The more common situation is that you have a will drafted or written down what you would like to happen, then you need credible witnesses, yourself, and another person in your presence to sign the will. Lawyers make that easy and can assure you that it’s taken care of before you leave their office.
Call Your Local Probate Attorney in Texas for Help With Changing Your Will
When you’re ready and know every change that you need to go through, you should contact your attorney. At Eddington Worley, our team goes through every detail with you before finalizing your will. We’ll also discuss your estate plans not only on how you will choose to inherit but who should deliver your will or manage your funeral affairs, all of which should be included in your will but is often forgotten. Contact our family law firm in Houston to add a codicil, or redraft your will.