Having your California estate plan in order can give you the peace of mind of knowing that you have responsibly prepared for the future. After you finished putting everything together and critical documents stored, your focus probably shifted to other matters. However, since then, certain developments may have occurred in your life that warrant going back and making changes. Here is what you need to know about amending your California estate planning documents:
You can modify your California will anytime that you like. Generally, you cannot change your California will by only making written edits. If you want to revise part of the document, you can create a codicil, or written amendment, that sets out the change. When creating a codicil, you must observe the same requirements as when executing a California will. You also have the option of revoking your will and executing a new document.
If your estate plan includes a trust, and you want to make alterations, your ability to do so will depend on the type of trust you created. If your trust is revocable, amending its terms is usually a matter of changing the trust document. However, if you have an irrevocable trust, you will only be able to make changes under limited circumstances. The best way to determine how to amend your California trust is by consulting with a California estate planning attorney.
When you created your estate plan, you may have named someone to be your financial decision-maker in a durable power of attorney. If you decide you no longer want this individual to serve in this role or need to make changes to their powers, you can make modifications. However, if there is a question about your mental capacity, you may have to take additional steps, such as submitting to a medical examination. If you have the mental capacity to make the desired changes, you can have your estate planning attorney draft a new durable power of attorney. This document will replace the prior power of attorney
If you want to change your Advance Health Care Directive, you may do so at any time, provided you have the mental capacity to do so. Technically, replacing your health care agent can be done by informing your treating physician. Likewise, if you want to amend your medical treatment instructions, you can do so by writing down the change or otherwise communicating your intent to others. However, in either of these situations, it would be advisable to revoke your advance health care directive and create a new document. Your new advance health care directive will replace the previous version. After doing so, you should take steps to make sure that all necessary parties have the most current version of your directive.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are dedicated, professional, California estate planning attorneys with over 25 years of experience and the expertise you need to amend your plan. Please contact us online or by phone to start your solution.