Kansas Family Law Attorney Discusses Will Changes
Probate cases can be some of the most contentious legal battles out there. For example, there is a fight in progress that involves an estate worth over twenty million dollars. The man who owned the estate appears to have changed his will shortly before he died in 2013 – or did he? It seems as though the man made a codicil to his will, but the validity of that codicil is questionable. The codicil is written as a letter, and it is typed on the man’s personal stationery. The codicil differs from the man’s will in that it drastically reduces the portion of the estate that is left to the Fort Hays State University Foundation, apportioning half of the estate to the man’s part-time bookkeeper and caretaker, one-quarter to the man’s attorney, and one-quarter to the Foundation. The caretaker claims that she found the codicil in a drawer in the man’s office on the evening that he died.
Attorneys for the foundation do not believe that the codicil is authentic. In support of their assertion, there is evidence that less than two weeks before the man died, he asked the president of the university to visit him in the nursing home where he lived. According to the now former president of the university, the man reassured him that the Foundation was going to receive most of his estate. Also, the couple who witnessed the signing of the codicil are both now dead as the result of a homicide-suicide.
It is possible to change your will after you execute it without having to execute and entirely new one. If you need to make one or more small changes to your will, your estate planning attorney can help you do that by preparing a codicil. There are five common reasons that people change their wills, and a codicil can help you accomplish any one or any combination of those changes. For example, some people make a will before they have children. The arrival of one or more children does not mean that you have to toss out your will and start fresh, you can add your kids to your will with a codicil and specify the portion of your estate that you would like to pass to each of them. If the Executor that you named in your will dies or you realize that they are not the person whom you wish to fill that position, you can revoke their appointment and appoint a new executor with a codicil. If there are bequests that you made in your original will that you no longer wish to make, you can revoke them with a codicil. In similar fashion, you can use a codicil to add new bequests that you did not include in the original will. If you want to make changes to your will with a codicil, remember that just like a will, your codicil must be signed in the presence of two competent witnesses and a person with an official seal.
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Wills and codicils are just two of the estate planning tools that people can use to meet their estate planning goals. If you have questions about how you can achieve your estate planning goals, Kansas Estate Planning Attorney Thomas McDowell has the answers that you need. Please call McDowell Charter today, at (316) 633-4322 to schedule an initial consultation.