Reston, VA asked in Estate Planning for Virginia

Q: Name change of beneficiary in will and trust documents.

Can I just make a note in the documents, or do I need to see a lawyer.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: Definitely see a lawyer! Amendments to wills must be made with the same formalities as were required when the will was made. Most of the time that means two witnesses and sometimes a notary (not always). If you scribble changes in without following those formalities, a court may very well enforce the typed portions of the will but not the changes, which is clearly not the result you want. You should either do a formal codicil to the will or a whole new will that revokes and replaces all prior wills.

The formalities are not as strict for trust amendments, but if you really want your changes to stick, see an attorney to make sure they are done right.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.