Amending a will: Can a will or trust be updated?

Life isn’t predictable, and unexpected changes can occur at any time. Your estate plan should reflect that. Suppose you have questions about updating your will or trust in Virginia, a Fairfax wills and trusts attorney at Select Law Partners. In that case, PLLC can provide valuable guidance to protect your assets legally. They can also advise you on amending a will or trust.

amending a will

What’s the difference between a will and a trust?

A will and a trust are legal documents that dictate how your assets should be distributed upon death. However, a will goes into effect only after you pass away and must go through the probate process, while a trust can be effective immediately and bypass probate.

Can you change your will or trust in Virginia?

Yes. Virginia law allows you to modify your existing will or trust anytime during your lifetime if you are of sound mind. This flexibility ensures your estate plan accurately reflects your current wishes and beneficiaries.

How do you update your will or trust in Virginia?

Here are the primary methods for updating your will or trust in Virginia:

  • Codicil: A codicil is a legal document that amends an existing will. It makes minor changes to the will without completely rewriting it. It must be executed with the same formalities as a will, witnessed by two disinterested individuals who aren’t your beneficiaries.
  • Trust amendment: An amendment to a trust is a document that allows you to change your trust’s terms without revoking the entire trust agreement. It must be executed according to Virginia law.
  • Revoke and redraft: Another option is to revoke your existing will or trust entirely and create a new one. This approach ensures that a single, updated document clearly outlines your wishes. Revoking a will or trust should be done explicitly in writing, and the new document should comply with all Virginia laws.

When should you consider updating your will or trust?

Here are some key life events that might prompt you to update your will or trust:

  • Marriage or domestic partnership
  • Birth of a child or grandchild
  • Death of a beneficiary
  • Divorce
  • Significant asset changes
  • Changes in health

Can you change your will or trust without an attorney?

While it’s possible to make handwritten changes to a will or trust, known as a holographic will or trust, it can lead to legal complications and disputes after death. You should consult a wills and trusts lawyer in Fairfax to ensure your desired changes comply with all legal requirements and effectively achieve your estate planning goals.

Can a will or trust be changed after death in Virginia?

No, your will or trust cannot be changed in Virginia after your death. These documents are irrevocable upon your passing, meaning they cannot be altered or amended.

However, there are limited circumstances in which your will or trust may be contested or challenged after your death. For example, suppose there’s evidence of fraud, undue influence, or lack of testamentary capacity when your will or trust was created. In that case, interested parties may contest the document’s validity in court. Additionally, suppose your will or trust contains ambiguous language or isn’t executed correctly according to Virginia law. In that case, it may be subject to interpretation by the court, and interested parties may seek clarification or resolution through litigation.

Contesting a will or trust after death can be a complex and contentious legal process, so it’s generally best to address any concerns or disputes during your lifetime whenever possible. Working with an experienced wills and trusts attorney in Fairfax can help ensure your wishes are documented, reducing the likelihood of disputes after your passing.

Who can help draft or change your estate plan?

We encourage you to contact our wills and trust lawyers at Select Law Partners PLLC at (855) 541-4867 for help drafting or changing your estate plan. We can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning and ensure your wishes are properly documented and legally enforceable.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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