Changing Wills – Is It As Easy As Changing Your Mind!
How often can I change my Will? Am I able to do this without legal help?
You can change your Will as often as you like. However, there are a number of things you need to be careful of to ensure that any Will you make is valid.
Executing A Valid Will
Your Will is not valid unless it meets the following criteria:
(a) It is in writing; and
(b) It is signed by you, in the presence of two or more witnesses. These witnesses both need to be present at the time you sign your Will.
You also need to be aware that if any of the witnesses to the signing of your Will are a beneficiary under the Will this benefit will be void unless the following factors are shown:
– At least two people who witnessed the Will are not beneficiaries; or
– All beneficiaries under the Will have consented in writing to the witness receiving the benefit; or
– The Court is satisfied that the person making the Will knew and approved of the benefit to the beneficiary and it was given or made freely by the person making the Will.
To avoid problems in the distribution of your Estate it is best to make sure that no beneficiaries under the Will are witnesses to you signing your Will.
Revocation Of Previous Wills
You also need to ensure that you legally revoke the whole of any previous Wills when making a new Will.
A Will may be revoked by a later Will in a number of ways including:
– Writing a declaration of your intent to revoke the Will; or
– Burning, tearing or otherwise destroying the Will with the intention of revoking it; or
– Writing on the Will or dealing with the Will in such a manner that the Court is satisfied, from the state of the Will, that you intended to revoke the Will.
Altering An Existing Will
As an alternative to making a new Will, it is possible to make an alteration to your existing Will after you have signed it. Any such alteration will not be effective unless the alteration is:
(a) Signed by you in front of two witnesses who also sign the altered Will;
(b) The signatures can be made near or beside the alteration in the Will.
Do I Need Legal Help?
Over their lifetime the majority of people will need to make a new Will as their life circumstances change.
Whilst changing your Will may seem like an easy thing to do, there are countless expensive Court proceedings that have been caused by beneficiaries challenging later made Wills on the basis that they have not been validly revoked or altered.
If you are considering changing your Will, expert legal advice and drafting can avoid your Will ending up in Court.
If you are making a new Will, or want to change your current Will, seek expert legal advice. Call Barwick Boitano Lawyers, where one of their experts can advise you on your Will.
Call today on (02) 9630 0444 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
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