The mere passage of time has no effect on the validity of the will. Individuals and families experience life changes every 2 to 5 years. So even though a will remains valid, the individual and family’s needs change. Tax laws and statutes controlling wills and trusts change as well.
Your estate plan – whether it’s a will or trust – should generally be reviewed every 2 to 3 years and more often if you have a major life change such as the birth or adoption of a child, a divorce or marriage, or a significant increase in assets.
Legally, a will does not take effect until the testator dies and the probate court approves the will. Prior to death, a competent testator can amend or revoke an existing will. No notice to or approval of the beneficiaries is required.
You can change your will by writing and signing a new will or signing an amendment to the will called a “codicil”. A codicil is a separate document that explains the changes to the will and you make it effective by using the same formalities as with a will.
Answered by: Michelle Wilson, Esq.,Wilson Legal, PC, Cumming, Georgia
An ElderCare Matters Partner
We at Harwell & Plant consider a Will a “Living Document” meaning a competent testator can change it as often as desired. Harwell & Plant currently offers a free document review annually to our clients for whom we have prepared documents.