How to Amend a Will if You Move between States

Amending a will if you move between states is imperative to ensure that your beneficiaries receive the property you intended to bequeath to them. State laws vary on inheritance rights and requirements for a valid will. If you don’t apply the rules of your new state, the probate court will distribute your property for you. Here’s how to amend your will.

Amend with a Codicil

A codicil is a written amendment to your will, changing certain provisions or revoking the entire will. States vary on requirements for a codicil, but they all recognize it. The formal requirements, such as obtaining signatures from witnesses, are the same requirements for a valid written will in the state. Find out what those are and amend your will accordingly.

Account for Inheritance Laws in New State

If you move from one common law state to another, you may not have to amend your will at all, or you may need to amend it only a little. If, however, you move to a state with stricter rules, such as a community property state, then it’s important to amend your will to reflect the mandatory shares owed to your surviving spouse. A probate court may be forced to eliminate beneficiaries or distribute property contrary to your wishes if you don’t.

Will preparation software often includes a template for a codicil. Your move may have a huge impact on your will, and it’s important to amend it as soon as possible.