Can Linda amend her will this way?

Linda* made her will 40-plus years ago and wishes to make some amendments. She asks estate planning lawyer Rod Cunich if her planned strategy is legal.

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Q. Linda
I’m happy with my now 40-plus-year-old will – splitting my estate between my two sons – but wish to make some adjustments relating to costs involved in the care of my dog – and me. Could you please tell me if personally recorded amendments to my will, made on my smartphone, are legal?

A. The answer to your question is an unsatisfactory maybe. A taped or spoken amendment to your will could only have formal legal effect if your will, the recording and the circumstances, is examined by a court and the court holds that it was an effective amendment.

This will take time, costs lots of money and the outcome is uncertain. It would be much safer, much cheaper and much more certain to redo your will or have a formal amendment made to your old will. Such a document is called a codicil.  

* Not her real name

Rod Cunich is a lawyer and author with more than 30 years’ experience who specialises in estate planning. If you have a question for Rod, simply email it to [email protected]. His book, Understanding Wills and Estate Planning, has recently been updated and is available from all good bookshops.

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

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