When individuals are on their deathbed, things come into much clearer focus than before, and they may want to make some sudden changes to their will or codicil and estate planning documents. At the Law Office of Dan Kellogg, our estate planning lawyer assists individuals with their last minute will or codicil changes and ensure the fulfillment of their final wishes. However, we always warn clients that last minute will or codicil changes are risky and can pose some problems. If your loved one has requested last minute changes to his or her will or codicil, reach out to our Renton law firm to discuss what needs to be done to make the revisions they requested in a legal and valid way.

The Problems Presented By 11th Hour Will or Codicil Changes

If not handled carefully, last minute changes to a will or codicil can open the door for legal challenges after the testator’s death. This is especially true if the revisions are significant, or if they are completely out of character for the testator. To retain the validity of the will or codicil, it is important that your loved one follows the letter of the law exactly in regards to making a codicil to a will. In accordance with RCW 11.12.020, this includes ensuring that the changes are made in writing and that they are signed by the testator. If the testator is unable to make the physical changes him or herself, another person may sign the codicil on the testator’s behalf. However, this must be done in the presence of the testator and two or more competent witnesses, who will also subscribe their name to the will or codicil.

Even when all laws are followed to the T, problems can arise because of last minute will or codicil changes. For instance, upon the testator’s death, a family member may question whether or not the testator was in their right state of mind when the changes were made. If he or she suffered from an illness or crisis before their passing, it would not be off base for a family member to question their mental state when making the modifications.

Additionally, a family member may question whether or not there was undue influence to make the changes, especially if the changes involved transferring more assets to one beneficiary and taking away the assets of another. If your loved one wishes to make changes of this nature, it would be wise to have a Renton estate planning lawyer present who can attest to the individual’s state of mind at the time of the modifications.

Finally, to prevent family members from questioning a testator’s state of mind, it may be beneficial to have a physician present at the making of the codicil. A family doctor can evaluate the testator and determine his or her competency to make a decision about their personal and financial affairs.

Consult a Renton Estate Planning Lawyer

Renton estate planning attorney Dan Kellogg is available to provide sound legal advice regarding last minute will or codicil changes. If a friend or family member requests last minute changes to their will or codicil, do not take any chances and reach out to the Law Offices of Dan Kellogg for advice and guidance. Call 425-227-8700 or go online to schedule a consultation right away.

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