Elder couple making handwritten changes to a will.

Can a Handwritten Amendment Alter an Existing Will?


If you alter your will with a handwritten note, does that count as a legal alteration of the will? The answer is more complex than a simple “yes” or “no.”

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Handwritten Amendments

If you have had your will prepared by a lawyer and wish to make an amendment, such as adding a new grandchild as a beneficiary, you might assume that you can just add a handwritten change to your will, but there is more to the process than that. If you do not make your change properly, a handwritten amendment can easily be thrown out by the court and the last official version of your will, without the change, will be considered the most accurate view of your wishes, even if this is not the case.


When is a Handwritten Note Considered a Valid Amendment?

There are times when a handwritten note on a will can be considered an official amendment, but it needs to be done carefully. When you make a handwritten change to your will, the change needs to be signed by the will-maker and signed by two witnesses at the same time.


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It is likely that you will want to update your will as time goes on. Your will should be reflective of your current life circumstances, which are likely to change over the years due to divorces, marriages, the birth of children and grandchildren, and other major milestones. If you wish to make changes to an existing will, the best way to ensure that the changes are honoured upon your death is to get the help of a will and estate lawyer.

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