How to Amend a Will and What are the Costs
06 November 2017
With people’s lives changing over time it’s understandable that, at some point, you may want to change what your Will says. In this article I explain the implications of amending your Will and the costs involved.
The first stage is to look at what your current Will says and consider what changes you want to make. The type of changes that you want will determine what’s involved and how much, if anything, it’s going to cost to amend your Will. Just because there’s been a change in circumstances doesn’t automatically mean that your Will needs to be updated.
Changing a Will and The Law
If a change to your Will is required then it’s going to be necessary to formally amend it. You should not write the change/s on the existing Will nor should you cross anything out or use correction fluid to make changes.
The law in England and Wales requires that changes to your Will must be done properly. You have two options, you can either write a new Will or write a Codicil.
What is a Codicil?
A Codicil is a legal document that refers to your existing Will and sets out the alterations that you want to make to it. A Codicil does not replace your Will but runs alongside it. A Codicil needs to be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Will in order to be valid. Codicils can be tricky because they have to be cross referenced against your Will so the possibility of your wishes being misinterpreted are greater.
Another important aspect to consider is that, if your Estate requires a Grant of Probate, the terms of your original Will and Codicil becomes a public record. Therefore if you do not want the changes you’ve made to be clearly visible then you should write a new Will instead. This is typically seen if a beneficiary is being removed completely or the amount they are due to receive has been reduced by the Codicil.
For these reasons many people choose to put a new Will in place rather than do a Codicil however typically the professional costs involved of getting a new Will are higher than making a Codicil.
Updating Your Will with Co-op Legal Services
At the Co-op, if your existing Will has been written by us and you want to make changes to it, we’ll discuss your circumstances with you to understand what changes are needed. If the required changes are small, then we’ll write a new Will for you, but you will only pay an amendment fee instead of the full cost of making a new Will.
This amendment fee is £60 for a Single Will or £90 for Mirror Wills, including VAT. Small changes could include changing details such as the names of your Executors or Guardians, or updating the value of cash legacies.
If you wish to make more substantial changes to your Co-op Will, such as introducing new residuary beneficiaries or making changes as to how your residuary Estate is divided, then this would cost the same price as making a new Will.
A standard Single Will costs £150 including VAT and standard Mirror Wills cost £245 including VAT. This price also applies if you don’t have a Co-op Will and would like to create one from scratch.