Amending Your California Estate Planning Documents

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Amending Your California Estate Planning Documents

When you have taken the time to get your estate plan ready, it can feel like a tremendous relief. However, it can be surprising how quickly time can pass, and before you realize it, your estate plan may be one, five, or even ten years old. An estate plan is not something you create and complete: They are a group of documents that need to change and grow alongside you as your different needs arise. By amending your California estate planning documents as required, you can make sure you are up-to-date and ready:

Life Changes that Require Amendments

Your estate planning documents should be a reflection of your life circumstances. As you acquire property, marry, have children, and experience other changes, the information in your will and other estate planning documents will be impacted. If possible, your estate planning documents should be revisited each year so that they can be updated with the most current information.

Making Changes to Your California Will

The good news is that you can amend or revoke your California will at any point. However, it’s important that you follow certain steps when making changes. For instance, it is generally not sufficient to cross out sentences or paragraphs and write in your amendments. When you change or add to a will, you are creating a codicil. California law has specific requirements for codicils that are like those for executing a will.

Amending Your Advance Health Care Directive

Amending your California Advance Health Care Directive is generally not a problem provided there have not been any changes to your capacity. The only step required to replace your medical decision-maker is to inform your treating physician. However, it would be best to revoke your prior advance health care directive formally. You can memorialize your decision in writing, and then create a new advance health care directive naming your preferred health care agent and medical treatment directives. You should then make sure that copies of the new documents are provided to individuals that you trust.

Amending Your Power of Attorney

If you have a power of attorney and want to make changes, and there are not any concerns about your mental ability to understand your decisions, you should be able to do so without complications. You may want to amend the authority extended by the document, set a new condition, or name another person in the role. Once your attorney drafts a new power of attorney, it will replace the former version. Again, you want to be certain that the new document is in a safe place where it can be located by trusted people in your life.

Review Your Decisions with Your Estate Planning Attorney

Although it may seem that amending your estate planning documents is a relatively simple matter, any change that you make can have significant and long-lasting implications for you and your loved ones. Before making amendments, it is crucial that you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you evaluate your current estate plan and determine the changes that need to be made. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have the estate planning experience you need to examine your current estate plan and prepare for the future. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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