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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

President and CEO at Canadian Legal Wills
Tim Hewson is one of the founders of LegalWills.ca.

He has over 19 years of experience helping people to write their Will and other estate planning documents. He has been interviewed by many of the major news media outlets including CTV, Global News, The Toronto Star, and other leading Canadian publications. He has also contributed to a number of financial planning books.

Throughout his career, Tim has written extensively on the subject of Will writing and estate planning.
Anonymous

2 thoughts on “Customer question of the day – updating a Will

  1. Iris Iris says:

    I think that the first paragraph of your Will is key not to have troubles in the future. Revokation is the clue and giving the copy of your last will to your Power of Attorney/Trustee.

    • LegalWills LegalWills says:

      Thanks for the comment Iris. Yes, whenever you prepare a new Will, it will automatically revoke any previous document, so, by virtue of the date, it becomes your only official Last Will and Testament.

      And we totally agree. It makes sense to give your Will to your Executor in a sealed envelope for safe-keeping.

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