Life comes at you fast, and that can particularly affect the documents governing your estate. Revisions are a necessary part of the process, and many people seek will attorney services to modify their estates' documents. Before you dive into the revision process, though, you should have a good understanding of how it usually works.

Replacing the Will

You can revise your will with add-on documents. However, an attorney will almost never encourage their clients to do this. Primarily, a will attorney is typically afraid that partially modifying documents will generate confusion. If some of the old parts stay in effect while others go out the window, you have to be painfully specific about what does or doesn't count. Lawyers will tell you that this is an invitation to the probate process and even litigation.

Okay, a will attorney probably doesn't want you to amend the document. What do they want you to do? They will have a staff member make a complete copy of the previous documents. Using this copy as the baseline, they will remove the sections of concern and add whatever you require to change the will. One section will explicitly terminate the power of the old will and assert the power of this new document.

Identifying Older Versions

Ideally, you know the exact dates of any previous versions of your will. Likewise, you should possess all of the copies. If not, a will attorney can still create a blanket clause that'll terminate all of the previous versions.

Reviewing the Terms

Notably, you'll still need to be careful in editing the new document's terms. You don't want to accidentally remove anything that belongs in the new version. Likewise, you want to avoid potential contradictions between the leftover language and the new terms.

If that sounds like work, then that's because it is. A will attorney has to meticulously go over the old terms with you to ensure you're keeping what you need and losing what you don't.

Signing, Witnessing, and Storing

You must sign the will. Depending on your state's laws, you may also need to notarize it in front of witnesses. Every state has different rules for the witnessing and notarization of a will so make sure you're working with a law firm licensed in your state of residence.

Finally, you need to store the documents in a safe place. Your attorney can keep a copy, too. It is also wise to notify the executor and any affected beneficiaries of the changes to avoid confusion. For more information, contact a will attorney near you.