For will attorney services providers, producing a new will for someone who already has one can be one of the trickier aspects of the job. If you're preparing to write a new will, you need to know the art of doing it the right way. Otherwise, you may encounter some notable issues. Let's look at what those potential problems might be and how you can steer clear of them.
To Amend or Nullify
The first question when you create a new will is to determine if you should amend or nullify the existing will. A will attorney usually will tell you to nullify the entire document. It is tempting to make a few modifications by way of amendments. However, amendments always have the potential to create confusion about a resulting estate.
Notably, nullifying an existing will tends to involve mostly copying the existing one. You will want to have a copy of the original available so your attorney can study it. They can determine which terms make sense and what to remove. On balance, this will produce a cleaner will with less risk of running aground in the probate process.
Most families see some changes from the time a grantor writes one will and produces another. Consequently, you should take a full count of all the beneficiaries in your family to ensure you're not leaving someone out.
Similarly, it's a good idea to contact everybody. If someone has passed, for example, you don't want to include them in the new will. Even if it is evident their descendants would become the beneficiaries, a will attorney always wants to be as specific as possible. Name their descendants as beneficiaries if you want to have them in the will.
Asset and Liability Reviews
Your will should distribute your assets and settle your liabilities. Whenever you establish a new will, though, you should review what your assets are to ensure you're not including something that is gone or omitting something you've added. Likewise, you may retire debts and add new ones. The will should reflect the new obligations to avoid creating grounds for creditors to demand probate proceedings.
Incorporating Existing Structures
Particularly when it comes to using trusts as vehicles for transferring assets, you need to be careful as you create a new will. You don't want to undermine a trust by using language that either limits or kills its function. For example, you might have a trust in place to receive assets upon your passing. However, the language in your new will needs to ensure a trust will still work as expected.
Contact a will attorney for more information.