How to Change a Will in Illinois

630-891-2478

A last will and testament is a legal document instructing what should happen to your assets and property (known as your estate) at the time of your death. But it does not stop there. You can assign a guardian for children and appoint an executor for your estate, and much more. Over the course of a lifetime, however, many events create circumstances that require you to change your Will. You remarried. You had a falling out with a family member. You started a business. Your partner died. You got a divorce. You had another child.

Whatever the event is, you should change your Will to reflect the new circumstances. At The Law Firm of Erin N Birt PC (Birt Law), our divorce attorney can provide you with a trusted referral to an estate planning attorney in Illinois who believes in updating Wills on a regular basis so that they reflect the current situation in your life. If you have a Will and need to make changes to it, contact us online or at (630) 891-2478 to learn more. In the meantime, here's generally what you should know about changing Wills.

If you are considering changing your Will because of a family law issue or a divorce, you may want to also read about our services for: Divorce, Uncontested Divorce, Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Mediation, Child Custody, Child Support, and Legal Wellness Services.

How Do I Change My Will in DuPage County?

People who have a Will that no longer reflects their intentions can change it. There are two basic ways to change a will: (1) by writing a new Will; or (2) by amending a current Will with a codicil. 

Creating a new Will has become the preferred way to change an estate plan. However, creating a new Will without regard to the old one makes the Will vulnerable to court challenges. The old one must be emphatically revoked. To revoke a Will, you have a few relatively simple options:

  • Create a subsequent Will (in other words: a new Will), and in the new Will, you should stipulate that you revoke all previous Wills. This method also allows you to revoke a provision of the old Will while maintaining the rest of the Will. Remember, too, that all requirements of the first Will remain the same for the subsequent Will, i.e., the testator must have testamentary intent and testamentary capacity, the Will must have been created with undue influence, fraud, or duress, and the proper signatures and witnesses must comply with the law.
  • Physically destroy the old Will (and all copies) by any means necessary, like burning it, shredding it, or ripping out the signature. This method does not allow you to simply tear out one or more provisions that you want to change or terminate. Destruction by physical act destroys the entire Will.

Codicils have all of the legal requirements of a regular will, meaning they must show testamentary intent and must satisfy all of the other requirements of validity in Illinois. Codicils are not intended to be a complete Will, and that's why this method is not preferred: it leaves the testator with two valid testamentary instruments floating around, and if one is lost, it opens the door to challenges to the Will.

What Should I Do After I Change My Will in DuPage County?

Like with the first Will, you should take a few steps to secure and protect the Will.

  1. Keep the original and all copies in a safe place, like a lockbox at home or a safe deposit box at a bank.
  2. Inform the executor so that they know the location of the Will.
  3. Keep the original Will and the copies of the Will separate.
  4. Copies of the Will should be marked as such. You can make a note on the copies as to the location of the original Will. 
  5. Give a copy only to one or a few trusted people. You do not have to give anyone a copy, however, it is a good idea to leave a copy with the attorney who drafted it.

When Should I Change My Will in Illinois?

Estate planning is an ongoing process. People should at least revisit the terms of their will every year, even if only to reaffirm them.

However, there are some life events that should lead people to make a change, which include:

  • Divorce
  • Marriage, remarriage
  • A new child, grandchild, or stepchildren
  • A serious and permanent falling out with someone who is to receive property in the will
  • Receipt of a significant amount of property or money since you last wrote your will
  • Relocation to a state that sees marital property as community property to one that sees it as common law property, or vice versa

Any of these events can drastically alter your final testamentary intentions or can make the current terms of your will unworkable.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in Illinois

If you want to change or update your current last will and testament, you need to make sure that it is done right. Not properly destroying or revoking the first Will can create problems when the Will goes through probate. 

At The Law Firm of Erin N Birt PC (Birt Law), our estate attorney in Illinois will guide you through the process of changing your Will. Contact us either by filling out the online form or calling us directly at (630) 891-2478 to schedule a consultation & planning session to plan for your divorce, post divorce, and estate planning needs.

If you are considering changing your Will because of a family law issue or a divorce, you may want to also read about our services for: Divorce, Uncontested Divorce, Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Mediation, Child Custody, Child Support, and Legal Wellness Services.

Recommendations

  • She was responsive and gave good counsel.

    What did you value most about working with Erin Birt? She was responsive and gave good counsel. Read On

  • I valued Erin's professionalism

    I valued Erin's professionalism more than anything. Never at any moment did my confidence waiver in her guidance and direction. Her actions are purposeful, direct and were always in my best interest.  Read On

  • It was overwhelming to me without Erin's help

    I valued how prompt Erin was with everything: every question I had; following up with my submissions; and so on. I also valued her explanation of each step; she was concise and easy to understand, which was invaluable to have with this process, as it was overwhelming to me without Erin's help. I ... Read On

Recent Case Results

  • Our client knew his wife was having an affair. She flaunted it. Soon after he left the marital residence, his fears came true, his wife had moved her boyfriend into his house with his kids. Our firm hired a private investigator to watch the house, monitor who was present at the house, and to ensure the safety of the children. Our attorney strived to resolve the case by settlement, but knew, if needed, she was absolutely prepared to present a well organized case to a judge that included putting the wife on the stand about her infidelities. Read On

  • Our client had limited income after devoting most of her adult life to raising children. She retained our firm on a limited scope basis to help her draft divorce paperwork. She would not have otherwise had access to justice for her children as she did not qualify for legal aid and did not have sufficient funds for an attorney to represent her on all issues. Read On

  • Our mediation clients were parents to a young child and the father had extended family in another country. By keeping the case out of court, we were able to focus on a new tradition post divorce for vacations and special times rather than relying on just the past actions or customs of the family while married. Read On

Our Services

We help clients successfully and peacefully start a new chapter in their lives.

We offer in-person and remote meetings with clients.  Now more than ever is the best time to have a divorce attorney to navigate court restrictions and reopenings. 

  Learn more about our plan to keep our clients safe and informed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact Us Today

Birt Law is committed to answering your questions about Family law issues. We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Menu