How to Add a Page to My Last Will and Testament

By Jeffry Olson, J.D.

How to Add a Page to My Last Will and Testament

By Jeffry Olson, J.D.

Despite the name, a last will and testament is not as final as it sounds. You can amend this document, adding a page or several pages to it anytime you'd like, prior to your death if you are of sound mind and meet the legal requirements.

Elderly couple filling out paperwork

Adding a Page to Your Last Will and Testament

An amendment to a will, known as a codicil, adds or alters additional property or beneficiaries to the document. You may instead wish to include a personal property memorandum that dictates the disposal of personal property that had not been addressed in the original document. Here's a brief look at these two options.

Drafting a Codicil

A codicil changes property or beneficiaries, making minor adjustments to your will by stating assets you want to be removed or added. This includes new assets, additional beneficiaries, or removing original beneficiaries. Here's what you need to know to create a codicil.

1. Determine the changes you would like to make. Write the codicil identifying those alterations to assets and beneficiaries using clear and specific language.

2. Execute the codicil in the same manner as the original testament. Date the document, so the court knows in what order to interpret your estate planning documents, and sign it. Check whether your state requires you to sign in front of two witnesses who sign the codicil as well.

3. Store the codicil with the original testament. Doing so ensures that the two documents are found at the same time and the court will interpret them together.

Remember to draft this document with the seriousness of your last will and testament as its terms replace the terms of the original one.

Drafting a Personal Property Memorandum

A personal property memorandum lists items of personal property—never real property such as a house—and assigns those items to intended recipients. Ideally, the will references the attached personal property memorandum. To create a personal property memorandum, here's what you need to do.

1. Determine what property you would like to distribute. Then, draft a document that clearly identifies the property and the beneficiary you would like to receive it. Sign the memorandum and date it at the bottom. Most states do not require the memorandum to be witnessed.

2. Initial and date all changes to your personal property memorandum. You can make future changes to the memorandum by striking through the item and writing "revoked." Below that, make your desired additions and revisions.

3. Store your personal property memorandum with your final testament. The court typically interprets it together with your will.

Courts recognize any of these changes to a final testament as long as they are made in compliance with state law and before you pass away. While courts accept codicils and personal property memorandums as amendments to wills, drafting a new one is an effective way to prevent confusion about which document controls your asset distribution. It is important to consider all of these options and your personal situation before deciding how to change your will.

A legal service provider or estate planning attorney can help you determine whether it would be best for you to create a codicil, personal property memorandum, or a new will and create your new document.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.