How can I remove someone as a beneficiary on my last will and testimony? - Estate Planning Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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How can I remove someone as a beneficiary on my last will and testimony?

How do I go about removing a person (a deceased niece) from my last will and testimony? Can I cross her name off of the original document and initial it? Can I have it notarized?


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You cannot remove them from the will by crossing them out and in fact doing so will invalidate the will. You would have to amend the will to remove the person. You may not need to do so depending on what the will says about predeceased beneficiaries.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 12/11/2013


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Why not update your last will and testament and write a new one. After all, the will is not effective until your death and can be updated until the very end of your life. I would advise that a new will be written and the old one destroyed by either tearing it up or crossing through it with a red pen.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/11/2013

Answer By Sean P. O'Keefe
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
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In Maryland, whether you need to do anything may depend on whether there is survivorship language in the document. Generally, one should not alter the original document, but instead create a new document with the desired change(s). You should be able to create a codicil or new will to amend the will.

Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/10/2013

Answer By Frances Headley

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You probably do not have to do anything, but do not cross off anything on the original document. You should consult an estate planning attorney to see if an amendment is necessary.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/10/2013

Answer By Edwin K. Niles

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NO! Prepare and properly execute an amendment or a new will.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/10/2013

Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
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You should either re-make the Will or execute a codicil to the Will. The change needs to be witnessed in the same fashion as the original Will.

Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 12/10/2013

Law Office of Nathan Wagner
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You should have a whole new will prepared, then execute it and have it properly witnessed. Simply crossing out her name would not work, and it might even make people wonder whether you were trying to revoke the entire will.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/10/2013

Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
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Your Will is an important legal document and you should ensure that there are no ambiguities in its enforcement and that you limit opportunities to challenge your intention under the document. If you want to change your Will best practices would be to revoke the existing Will and create a new Will.This helps insure that the changes are complete and leave no gaps or lapses. It is possible to alter a Will but doing so must be done in the same manner as the execution and attestation of the Will when first executed. The interlineation must be done in the presence of witnesses and be signed and dated. The Will itself must be resigned by the testator at the time of the later date, after the changes to the Will, and the testators execution of the Will a second time must be done in the presence of witnesses. The witnesses must attest to witnessing the alteration and testators signing the Will and witnesses signature must also be dated.

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 12/10/2013

Answer By Thomas E. Gates

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There is nothing that needs to be done. Since she is deceased, it's as if you never included her. However, if you wish her children to inherit her share, the will should reflect that. Your other option, is to do a new will.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 12/10/2013

Answer By John F Brennan
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
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I would have it redrafted by an attorney, and re-executed notarized and/or witnessed so there would not be any issue. You know there is going to be an unhappy person who will be looking for any means to challenge it.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/10/2013

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