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Revising An Estate Plan: Should I Write A New Will From Scratch Or Revise My Existing Will?


Every adult needs a well-drafted Will. If you have one—which the AARP notes that 60 percent of adults do not—you are in a good position. That being said, an outdated Will may not effectively protect your best interests. You should review, and if needed, revise, your estate plan on a regular basis. This raises an important question: Should I revise my Will or write a new Will? The answer depends on your specific circumstances. Within this article, our Boston estate planning attorney highlights key considerations when altering a will in Massachusetts.

A Will is Not a Static Document: It Should Be Updated for Life’s Changes 

A Will is not a legal document that should be drafted, put in a drawer, and never considered again until a person passes away. It is not a static legal document. Instead, a Will is better thought of as an ever-evolving document that can (and should) be updated to adjust for whatever changes life might bring. Very common scenarios like getting married, having kids, buying a house, having a grandchild, or retiring could all be a good reason to revise your Will. Be sure to review your Will regularly to make sure it still reflects your current wishes and life situation. 

Your Options for Revising a Will 

How do you actually change a Will in Massachusetts? Should you revise some of the sections or should you simply throw it out and start over? The answer depends on your specific circumstances. The primary factor is the scope of the changes that you are making. Here is an overview:

  1. Minor/Modest Changes (Revision): If your changes are small, like adding a new item to give someone or changing an address, you can make a revision. This is often done with a document called a “codicil.” A codicil is like a mini update that’s added to your existing Will. Here is the most simple example: Imagine that you name each of your grandchildren individually as part of your Will. You have a new grandchild who is born. You can easily revise your Will to add their name to the document. There is no reason to start from scratch.
  2. Major Changes (Consider New Will): If your life has changed a lot—for example, if you wrote a Will more than 10 years ago and got married, had a kid, and underwent major financial changes—it is probably a good idea to start a new version from scratch. Why? Making a new Will can be simpler than trying to patch up the old one with multiple updates—especially if the changes are significant. A lawyer can ensure that your estate plan is clear so that there is no confusion over which Will is valid.

Contact Our Boston Estate Planning Attorney Today

At Fisher Law LLC, our Boston estate planning lawyers are compassionate, solutions-forward advocates for clients. Have any questions about the revision of a Will? We can help. Give us a phone call now or contact us through our website to arrange your confidential case review. From our office in Norwood, we provide estate planning services throughout the Greater Boston area.



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