In this article, we explain how to update a will in Illinois and answer the questions “when should I updated my will?”, “can I make handwritten updates to an Illinois will?”, “what is a codicil to a will?”, and “should I amend my will, create a new will, or revoke my will?”
Your will should be updated when any of the three situations change:
If your will has been properly drafted, you should not have to update your will if new children or grandchildren are born or if named beneficiaries, executors, or guardians of minor children pass away. You should however review your will to ensure that it provides for these contingencies.
Many people believe that a will can be updated simply by handwriting or typing on the existing will and initialing the change. This is not the case. In order to update a will a supplementary document known as a codicil must be drafted and executed in the same manner as the original will.
A codicil is a supplementary document that is used to make changes to a will. It sets forth the specific provisions of the will that it seeks to change as well as the language of the new amended provision. In order to be valid, a codicil must meet the same legal requirements as the original will:
If you are only making changes to a few provisions of your will, drafting a codicil may be the best option. However, if you are making more sweeping changes, it may make more sense to create a new will which revokes your prior will. For more on this, check out our article: How to Create a Will in Illinois.
Another option is to simply revoke your prior will, by drafting and execution a Revocation of Will document. A Revocation of Will must be executed in the same manner as a will. For more on this, check out: How to Revoke a Will in Illinois.