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What Is a Amendment? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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An amendment is a probate term used to refer to the will that has been updated, changed, and generally improved by an individual. 

To change a document that has been filed in court by replacing it with a new version. In Probate, an amendment will be given another hearing date so there can be more discussion on what is being changed and how best to resolve the issue at hand.

The essence of amending a will is because plans change over time, which makes initial beneficiaries of an estate, land, or other properties change. 

An amendment process can happen in two to five years, depending on a major life event that took place within these years. Some of these events are marriage, divorce, the birth of a newborn, death, etc. 

With the help of a qualified probate attorney, all issues regarding amendment are easier. Are you looking to amend your will soon? This article will put you through significant factors to bear in mind. 

Why is an Amendment important?

An amendment of a will is important because It allows you to change the beneficiary of property without necessarily making a new will.

If the estate beneficiary died before you, it’s always important to redraft and make replacements as soon as possible.

What is the Structure of an Amendment?

Before creating an amendment document, you need to start by:

  • Writing an opening paragraph where you will state  your name, country of residence, state, and the date of your initial will
  • Take note of the article you intend to amend, add or delete an item from.
  • Ensure to use a professional tone all through the article
  • Reaffirm your statements and finalize with the attorney.

An amendment is different from Addendum. In the addendum, there’s an addition to make in the legal document. It could be a supplement or an appendix. While an amendment document tries.to explain, modify, or revoke a part of a will.  

What is the Lifespan Of Amendment?

There’s no specific timeline that an amendment document is expected to last. However, if the testator was mentally unfit at the time of the signing, the content of the will may be termed invalid. 

How is amendment used?

An amendment is used for:

  • Replacing a will executor
  • Updating beneficiaries of a will by adding or deleting existing ones.
  • Changing the gifts a testator wishes to give a beneficiary. They can either be added, removed, or changed. 
  • Changing the guardian selection. This mostly happens if the testator has children that are below 18 years of age. 

Generally, an amendment is used to effect minor or major changes in an existing will.

Synonyms for Amendment

There are other ways to say “Amendment” as a probate term. Some of them are:

  • Modification
  • Correction
  • Revision
  • Alteration
  • Reformation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Amendment

The following are answers to possible questions you’ve been itching to ask about amended wills. 

Q: Does an amended will need to be witnessed?

A: Yes. Just like the original will, someone needs to witness your as this will ensure the document’s validity. The witnessing act varies, depending on the state. However, several states only require that the witness signs the article or document.

Q: Can an amended will be handwritten?

A: Your attorney or any public legal representative can write your amendment or you can simply create one. 

In most cases, creating an entirely new will makes a lot of sense. That’s because when the old one is revoked, creating a new one will reduce the chances of any confusion coming from the beneficiaries. It’s best to create a fresh one.

Q: Can an amendment be contested or challenged?

A: The best people to contest or challenge a will are the beneficiaries of the original will. They are often required to bring evidence that the testator was mentally unstable or influenced to make the changes.

If they are successful at the end of the day,  the court can pass a rule to invalidate the content of the will. In other cases, the court can introduce new amendments in the favour of the beneficiaries.

Q: Is the amendment process expensive?

A: The process of amending a will is not expensive. With a minimum of $100, you can make all changes. Ensure to have a copy of the original will so that you can easily make references where necessary.

Q: How can an amended will be validated?

A: For an amendment to become valid in the eyes of way, you need to repeat the same procedures as when you created the will. 

For instance, there must be a signature on it and you need witnesses to also sign on it.

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