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Should my father file a new will or have a codicil prepared since some of the information in the old will does not exist?

West Palm Beach, FL |

My 86 year old father prepared a will in 2002 and since then many of the things listed in that will he no longer has, e.g. vehicles, bonds, etc. Therefore, should he file a new will or amend the current one? Also, does the will have to go to probate?

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Attorney answers 4


your father should see a lawyer. you should not select the lawyer nor sit with him while he discusses what he wants. a lawyer can then make an appropriate determination of whether a new will, a codicil to the old will or a living trust should meet your fathers purposes. the answer assumes he is competent to understand the nature of what a will is what it does and to whom he is leaving things. same for the trust.

without a detailed review by a lawyer can all the issues raised in your question be appropriately addressed...nothing in this response should be construed as establishing a lawyer client relationship..the answers herein are for informational purposes and not to be construed as advice


While I agree with the answer of attorney Tormberg, as a general matter a new Will is not necessitated merely because some assets in your father's estate in 2002, whether mentioned specifically or not, are no longer there. A devise of an asset previously disposed of merely becomes irrelevant. However, the changed asset mix might ahve caused your father's estate plan to be frustrated so he should certainly consider seeking a review. Whether or not the Will will have to be probated on his death may depend on his assets and whether they are disposed of outside of probate. Again, an attorney can advise your father as to that.

Legal disclaimer: Unless specifically stated otherwise, this communication shall not be deemed to be legal or tax advice, and no attorney-client relationship shall be deemed to have been created.


I don't agree with Attorney Olsen's answer and I don't believe he is a Florida Attorney and may not be familar with Florida law. The words in the will are important-For example-the will says 4000 shares of Exxon stock to A-and the estate did not own Exxon stock at death but did own before death.
A could argue that he wants the value of the stock or the estate should purchase 4000 shares to give him.
I always word the document- any interest owned at the time of my death up to 4000 shares of Exxon stock to A or other similar wording depending on if real estate or other items.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


I agree that your father should at least see an attorney to make sure that his current Will reflects his intent. And in answer to your second question, every Will needs to be admitted to probate, in order to be effective. For this reason, a Will is not always the best estate planning tool.

Regardless of what is done with the Will, your father needs a current durable power of attorney, to name someone to handle his medical decisions and financial matters, if he ever becomes incapacitated. This will eliminate the need for probate proceedings to appoint a guardian or conservator.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.