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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I wish to make a small alteration to my will. The alteration

Customer Question

I wish to make a small alteration to my will. The alteration is simply to remove a current benificary and perhaps replace her with another. Can I use standard A4 paper?.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name isXXXXX and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have a small business which is left to my daughter. Currently a small sum is left to a member of staff. This bequest I wish to cancel and replace her with another employee.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I do not wish to have an answer. You appear to be seeking a regular monthly contract. This is of no interest to me as I was seeking a one off reply to my query. I do not expect any charge from you.

James Davies

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

There is no need to enter into a monthly contract and I will make sure that there is not one. There is no need to pay any more than the initial they that you wanted to pay. I hope that is okay.
As soon as you have read this, please reply to me and then I will email admin for you to make sure that you have not done a monthly subscription. The reason I will wait to you come back to me is that while they deal with that, the thread closes and you will not be able to see the answer.


I had already done the answer for you in any event.


thank you.

You cannot alter a will. What you can do is write a codicil to the
existing will, which is a document which varies the existing will.

It is a separate piece of paper and not attached to it. Both
pieces of paper should be kept together.

In my practice, a solicitors were banned from doing codicils to
several reasons none of which were financial because the cost of doing a
codicil is no different than the cost of doing a new will.

We had major problems with them and it is extremely easy to make
them defective. Not only that, if, for example, in your case, the beneficiary
who is being excluded happens to find the will before anyone else or is
friendly with the executors, the executor can (illegally) destroy the codicil.

For the above reasons therefore if nothing else I would
immediately suggest that you write a completely new will.

You can do it in exactly the same wording as the original one.

A new will or a codicil both need
witnessing by two witnesses (who must not be beneficiaries or the spouses of
beneficiaries) so apart from the fact that you have to do a bit of typing, it
is no big deal. I feel extremely strongly about this and I urge you to write a
completely new document. Remember, it doesn't matter to me what you do.

The will can be written on anything as indeed can the codicil.

It can be on A 4 paper or an envelope or post-it note or cigarette
packet. Indeed, I am reliably informed that will has been admitted to probate
written on the shell of an egg! It is the form of the will and the wording
which is important. It can be handwritten provided it is done in ink and
contains all the correct provisions. Many modern Wills drafted by solicitors
and will writing companies contain a whole load of gobbledygook which is not
relevant to the majority of estates. There is an element of what in the legal
profession we call "snowballing" which is making a word salad out of a document
to make it look impressive so that people think they are getting good value for

Completely off the point but a soldier in battle conditions can
actually write a will in pencil and it does not need to be witnessed! I hope
that both you and I never find ourselves in that position.

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PS Experts on here are online and off-line all day each day and
weekends so please bear with me if I do not get back to you immediately.

PS. I use voice type, voice recognition typing because I only
type with two fingers and it would take me ages. Sometimes, a computer does not
hear me correctly and you will get an incoherent word. I do try to but
sometimes they slip through. I apologise therefore if anything doesn't make
sense. It is me losing it, not you. Just ask if anything is not clear please.