Many people have wills that were drafted years ago. Now they want to leave some specific items to someone who was not included when their original will was drafted. Making changes to a will doesn’t have to be complicated says nj.com’s recent article, “Does my dad need to pay money to get a new will?” However, making changes on your own can cause trouble for the executor if not done correctly.
Many times making changes to a will is as simple as creating a written list that disposes of tangible personal property, not otherwise identified and directly disposed of in the original will.
The list must either be in the testator’s handwriting or it can be typewritten, but it must be signed and dated by the testator. This list also must describe the item and the recipient clearly.
This list can be amended or revoked. It should be kept with the will or given to the executor, so he or she knows about it and can ensure it is followed.
It would not be in the interest of the executor and may be perceived as a breach of fiduciary duty to honor such a list and make such a distribution, if the beneficiaries named in the will object. No one wants to cause a fight over the items on the list, after the parent is gone.
Although this kind of change to your will can be done on your own, it would be much wiser to invest in having the items added to a revised will to protect your wishes. If some of the beneficiaries got into a quarrel over the items on the list, it could result in a family fight that a properly drafted and executed revision or amendment could easily prevent.
Reference: nj.com (October 14, 2019) “Does my dad need to pay money to get a new will?”