It is advisable for adults to create a will as early as possible. However, because life circumstances can change quickly and dramatically, it is also advisable for adults to review their wills periodically and make changes as necessary.
There are essentially two ways to make changes to a will: adding a codicil or rewriting the will altogether. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Adding a codicil
According to Kiplinger’s, a codicil is a way of making amendments to certain specific areas of a will. The process for creating a codicil is similar to that for creating a will, and the same signing and witnessing requirements apply. It is usually necessary to attach the codicil physically to the will.
A codicil is a simple way to change a few parts of a will without having to rewrite the whole thing. However, if the codicil gets lost or separated from the will, or the execution of the codicil is improper or incomplete, it could cause problems.
Rewriting the will
The other method of changing a will is by rewriting it entirely. FindLaw advises that it is necessary to revoke the old will by destroying it and including a statement in the new will revoking all previous wills and codicils, if any.
In the past, when it was necessary to type a will out on a typewriter or write it out by hand, rewriting a will was difficult and time-consuming, and creating a codicil was much more convenient. Now, however, if a testator has a copy of the will stored as an electronic computer file, it is a relatively easy matter to make updates and then print out a new copy for executing according to state law. This can avoid some of the difficulties that may arise from adding codicils.