FAQs About Wills

Can I Make Handwritten Modifications To My Typewritten Will?

by Rania Combs

WritingYour typewritten Will likely reflected all your wishes when it was written, but things may have changed.

It may be that you’d like to replace the executor you originally selected with another trusted family member. Or perhaps, you’ve decided that you’d like Grandma’s china to pass to your niece, rather than your nephew, and your newly acquired Harley Davidson motorcycle to pass to your brother.

Because the changes seem so minor, you might consider just striking out some names, and replacing them with others, or inserting a line or two in your original Will. For good measure, you might initial above the changes to make sure others knew you were responsible for the alterations and interlineations. That should work, right?

The short answer is no.

Alterations and interlineations made before a Testator executes a typewritten Will are valid; however, changes made after a Testator signs a Will have no effect. Regardless of the changes made, the Will must be probated as originally written, without regard for the changes, unless the changes were made with formalities required for making a Will. Additionally, if the testator makes so many interlineations that it impossible to establish the terms of the Will when it was written, then the Will may be denied probate.

Note however, that these rules to not apply to holographic Wills. Alterations and interlineations made to a holographic Will are valid as long the changes are proven to have been made in the Testators own handwriting.

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