Customer question of the day – updating a Will

Hello, I am trying to seek additional information regarding updating a Will . My question is , every time I update or change my will, do I need to go after the witness every time to re sign? How do I go about changing, updating without having to get them re signed. Thanks.

There is no way of updating a Will without having witnesses sign the update. There are only three ways to update your Will;

Updating a Will

Handwrite a change on the Will

Make an annotated change on the document by putting a line through something and re-writing something else. This is not recommended as it is the method most likely to prompt a challenge to the Will. Even if you take this approach, the change would have to be initialed by you, and two witnesses would have to also initial the change.

Updating a Will with a codicil

This is a new document that is attached to the original Will that says something like “in the attached document, change paragraph 3 (i) to read “leave everything to my son George”. Again, this is not recommended because multiple codicils becomes confusing, and even with this approach, the codicil must be signed in the presence of two witnesses.

Preparing a new Will

We would recommend this approach to updating a Will.  At LegalWills.ca login to your account, make the change, and then print a new Will. Again, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, but there is really no way to avoid this. If you have chosen to prepare your Will through a lawyer, it is a little more problematic, and expensive, but you would have to book an appointment with your lawyer, return to the office with your existing Will and have a new Will prepared. Costs vary, but changes can be charged on a “per edit” basis.

One of the responsibilities of the witnesses is to ensure that you are not being coerced into signing something that you wouldn’t otherwise sign. This applies to the original Will, a codicil, or an annotated update to the Will.

Tim Hewson