It’s not unusual for people with wills written to get to a point where they want to make changes in their will. Will and estate lawyers actually recommend for will-writers to regularly review them so that they can make any changes necessary.
The problem is that there may be instances when the will-writer cannot access their will. They may currently live in a different state or country, or they may have personal reasons. In such situations, they might want to know whether or not it’s possible to have someone else authorized to make the changes.
In this post, we will discuss what a will-writer can do to make valid changes to their will in such cases:
Can Someone Else Make the Change for You?
The short answer is no. Only the will-writer is authorized to make any changes to their will.
What the Will-Writer Can Do
In June 2020, a will in BC was witnessed electronically via video conference. But why is this important to know? It is because a will-writer can change terms in their will by either rewriting it or making a codicil. A codicil is a document that reflects the changes a person wants to make to their will. When the will goes through a change, the same process done when it was written first is followed, meaning that the changes must be written and signed by the will-writer with witnesses present.
As long as this procedure is followed, it’s easy to make valid changes to the will. However, complications can happen when there are no witnesses to the change. This is because some will-writers assume that as the original will already has witnesses, there’s no need to validate any future changes.
Can Family Members or Power of Attorney Change the Will?
Many people believe that it’s enough to have power of attorney to modify their will. It may be because this works for most financial and legal documents. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to wills.
Also, neither the spouse, children, or any family member is authorized to change someone’s will. For any changes made by the family to be valid, the will-writer must be present when the changes are reflected in the will, and they need to sign the document themselves. This is to protect the will-writer from anyone who might want to persuade them to make changes in the will favourable to them.
Can Courts Change the Will?
There are some cases when BC courts deem a will unfair and vary it. While this isn’t a traditional way to change the will, it is a possibility when the will-writer has already passed away, meaning the actual writer of the will has no say in the changes made in court.
The will writer’s children and spouse may then be entitled to sufficient provision, and the court might decide to ensure this happens. Additionally, the court can alter the will when there’s an obvious error made by the writer. However, this claim must be proven in court that it’s not the writer’s intention.
What Can Be Done?
If you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to make changes to your will, there are certain options for you. For instance, if you are living in a different city and it’s impossible to be present for the re-writing of your original will, you can write a new one and state that you intend to revoke all the terms in your past wills. Make sure that you get legal assistance from someone knowledgeable about wills and estates when you make changes. Also, remember that you need witnesses, and your signature is mandatory.
As you now know, wills are not as simple as you might think, and you can’t change it however you wish. Also, other people, not even your closest relatives or a power of attorney, can alter your will. If you want to know more about the legal processes involving making and rewriting wills, talking to a reputable attorney is the best step to take.
If you are looking for a wills and estates lawyer in Langley, BC, that is an expert on wills and estates, trust Dreyer and Associates Lawyers LLP. We can ensure that any change you want to be done with your estate is valid and that it won’t be contested or altered in the future when it takes into effect. Get in touch with our lawyers today to see how we can help!