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Making DIY changes to estate planning documents

There may be times when changes are needed to an estate plan. As life changes, Arkansas residents may be tempted to make estate planning changes on their own, but doing so may come with a number of problems down the road. It's true testators can make their own changes, but it is usually advisable to have an attorney at least have a look at those changes to make sure they adhere to state laws. 

A will can be revoked simply by destroying it or writing a new one and stating that any prior wills are revoked. However, when it comes to trusts, it might not be possible to amend them -- not even by the grantor, so an attorney needs to ensure whether changes, can, in fact, be made; in other words, whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable. A lawyer may also be able to offer advice on whether or not an estate plan should be updated at all.

If a testator does make changes to parts of his or her estate plan, it is crucial that it is done so legally. Those changes should be witnessed by at least two people and a notary. Handwritten changes should be written on one sheet as an amendment to the original document. The paper upon which those changes have been made should be stored with the original document.

Estate planning is important business. Any changes Arkansas residents make to their estate plans would be best reviewed by an experienced attorney who would know if those changes are legal. Having an attorney weigh in on changes may make it less likely that documents might be contested when the time comes to administer them.

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