You create a will so your loved ones have an idea of what you want to leave to whom. However, situations sometimes arise in life that may change your mind about certain decisions you made about how you want your assets allocated, and such changes may warrant a change to your will.
For example, maybe you have had another child since you initially created your will, or perhaps you and your spouse have recently split. Regardless of your reasoning, there may come a time when you need to change the stipulations detailed in your will, but can you do so legally?
A codicil is an amendment to a will that updates, explains or modifies it in the legal sense. You cannot simply cross out certain areas and write in your new ideas and wishes, as doing so would render your will invalid. You must formally execute a codicil, meaning you must include a date, and you also must follow the same rules that dictate will validity when adding your codicil or codicils.
For example, in Nevada, you must be of sound mind and over the age of 18 when you sign your will, and it must be a written document. Furthermore, you must not be subjected to undue influence when crafting the will, and when you sign it, and you also must have two witnesses (who are not beneficiaries) watch you sign the document before signing it themselves. The same is true for any codicils you add to the document.
Something to be aware of, both when creating your will and anytime you amend it, is ademption. Ademption refers to the act of leaving someone something you no longer own by the time you pass on. For example, maybe you left an expensive piece of jewelry to a family member, but then you sold it before you passed away. You may want to add language to your will that allows for this, such as adding a line that says â€œâ€¦if still in my possession at the time of my passing.â€
The more time and care you take in crafting your will, the lower the odds are that anything in it will be left open to misinterpretation.