A will lawyer can help you to create a legally valid, binding will so you have control over who inherits your money and property. In some cases, when a will has been created, you will need to modify or make changes to it. The process of modifying a will can be complicated because you need to ensure you make clear which will is the latest one and the one you want to control distribution of assets when you pass away.
There are a variety of legal requirements for modifying a will, so you should ensure you get comprehensive legal advice from experienced professionals. A Loveland, Ohio will lawyer at The Zimmer Law Firm can provide guidance on modifying your will and can help you to take the necessary legal steps to get your will changed.
The Importance of Consulting with a Will Lawyer
Consulting a will lawyer both during the initial creation of your will and when making modifications is important because you need a lawyer who knows how state laws actually apply to determine whether a will is valid or not.
According to Ohio Revised Code 2107.03 Method of making will, every will must be written to be legally valid, except for oral wills. A will can be handwritten or typed, but it must be signed either by the testator (the creator of the will) or under the direct orders of the testator. At least two witnesses must be present to see the testator sign the will or acknowledge that someone else is signing it at his express directive. The two witnesses also have to sign the will as the testator watches.
Once you have created a valid will, that will should be enforced in the event of your death. You may wish to ensure that your will is kept safe and accessible so that it can be found and probated after your death. Ohio Revised Code 2107.07 Deposit of will indicates that a testator or someone acting on behalf of the testator can deposit the will in the office of the judge of the probate court in the county where the testator resides. Depositing the will ensures that it will be on file, kept safe, and easily identified as a last will and testament upon the death of the testator.
If you subsequently decide that your will needs to be changed after it has been created, you also need to know the formal process that is involved in modifying a will. Because it can be confusing to modify a valid last will and testament, especially if it has been deposited with the office of the judge of the probate court, you should have a will lawyer advising you on the steps that you must take.
Ohio Revised Code 2107.084 Declaration of validity – revoking or modifying a will declared valid specifies the conditions under which a will may be modified after it has been declared to be valid.
A testator can modify or revoke an existing will that has been deposited with the probate court and declared valid by filing a complaint with the court that is in possession of the will. The complaint should specify the request to modify or revoke the will and it should name as defendants any parties who were named as beneficiaries in the prior will or who could be entitled to inherit as a result of the modification. The parties named as defendants must be served with notice.
Unless all of the involved parties waive the right to a hearing, the court should conduct a hearing on the validity of the requested modification or revocation of a will. If the court finds the revocation or modification is valid, the change will take full effect, become binding and revoking or modifying the prior will.
Since there are formal legal requirements that must be met whenever a will is modified, whether it is on file with the probate court or not, it is beneficial to have a legal professional assisting you. You usually have a very good reason when you wish to change your will, and you don’t want to make a mistake that results in your newest and most updated will not being enforced.
Contact a Loveland, Ohio Will Lawyer Today
The Zimmer Law firm provides assistance to clients in Loveland, Ohio and surrounding areas who wish to make a change to their will. We can also help you create a last will and testament for the first time if you do not already have a valid will in place.
To learn more about the creation of a last will a part of your estate plan, join us for a free seminar. When you are ready for personalized legal advice on creating or modifying your will, give us a call at 513.721.1513.