What do we need to do to make an addendum to our will? 23 Answers as of January 02, 2014

My husband and I have existing wills and want to add to the will. As it stands, we will be making an anatomical gift so our body parts may be used for transplantation. We want to add that if our body parts aren't needed that they be made available for education/research. Can we write our own addendum and if so, will it need to be notarized? Thank you for your time and assistance!

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James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
No, you do not need to do an addendum. Instead, you need to make a separate document to donate your bodies. Contact the institution that will be using the bodies (like OHSU). They have their own form that you can use.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/30/2013
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG | Robert I. Long
In California, the Cal. Hosp. Assn "Advance Health Care Directive" form contains the provisions you are interested in. You would not need to change your will if you are only specifying organ and tissue donations.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/2/2014
Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
An anatomical gift should not be part of your will. It is a separate document. Contact your state anatomical board. They can provide you with the proper forms.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 12/30/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
It's better to create a separate document such as a living will describing how you want your body disposed. Your wills may not be available at the time such a decision needs to be made. You will also need to make arrangements with a research or medical center so that they will be prepared to accept your remains when the time comes.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 12/30/2013
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
There are forms to do this, outside of a Will. If this is the only change you want to make, I would suggest you download a copy of the Michigan Peace of Mind booklet. You can find it online. There is a section in the back of the booklet that discusses the disposition of your remains. As far as your Wills are concerned, rather than amend them, it would be better to simply prepare new Wills, if you need to do so. Better than that would be discussing with an attorney how to avoid probate and thus, eliminate the need for a Will, altogether.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/27/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    You can add an addendum to your Wills. In California you would have two people witness your signature unless your original Will was entirely in your handwriting then the addendum can also be entirely in your handwriting.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    A formal will (or addendum) is one signed by you and witnessed by two witnesses who see you and each other sign. A holographic will is one entirely written, dated and signed by you (hand-written). Notarization adds nothing. That having been said, what you really need is an advance health care directive under Ca. Probate Code 4701. You can probably find it on-line.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    An addendum to a Will is called a codicil. To make a codicil requires the same formalities and execution as a new Will, thus it is suggested that, you consider the whole Will and what changes you would make to the whole Will. Either way, be very careful that you are correctly and legally make the changes you desire. To do this, get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    This is not a matter to put in your will. Unless your family are vultures, your will won't be out of the safe deposit box until long after you are interred. Oregon Health and Science University maintains a data base of organ donors. Go to OHSU.org for more information. A change to your will is called a "codicil," but I don't bother with them any more. Your will must be on someone's word processing software; just make the changes and sign the new will. The new will MUST be signed with the proper formalities. (A codicil has to be signed and witnessed exactly the same way, which is why I don't bother with codicils any more. It's much easier and way less confusing to just do a new will). You MUST sign your will in the presence of two witnesses. Both witnesses have to be there, in the room, awake, competent and over 18 years of age. The witnesses must both be in the room at the same time, and watch you sign the will. Then, the witnesses customarily sign a separate document, the Affidavit of Witnesses to the will. This is their testimony that they saw you sign your will, and as a sworn statement it must be notarized. The Affidavit stays with the will and is submitted with the will to probate. Get a lawyer to assist you with your estate plan. Your will is the last thing you say on Earth. If it's wrong, mistaken, not valid because the signing and witnessing isn't right, or too marked up with attempted changes, then it fails and your estate plan has failed. Do not risk that to save a few hundred bucks.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    Addendums or Codicils to wills must be in basically the same format as the original will and reference the will by date and any section the document may be modifying. The requirements for signature are the same as the will, at least two witnesses and a notary. If you have any questions please see an Estate Planning Attorney, these documents are relatively inexpensive.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    You should complete an Advanced Healthcare Directive. They can be found on the internet.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    You can either make a whole new will to include whatever it is you want to include or you can make what is called a codicil to your will. I always like to make a new will and destroy the old will by either ripping it up & throwing it away or marking a big red mark (an X or a slash over the pages). That way you have only one document and not two. The codicil being a separate piece of paper can easily be lost or misplaced or set apart from the original will.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    I suggest you obtain the services of an probate/estate planning lawyer who can draft the appropriate advance healthcare directive to cover the directions for your body parts upon your demise. A will does not address this type of request, so I don't believe an amendment would be the correct legal way to direct the disposal of your body parts. This might also be a good time to have your wills reviewed, and maybe implement a trust as well as powers of attorney to each of you from the other person.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    I would go to an attorney and have it drafted up as a codicil. Each state's laws are different and better be safe than sorry.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You should engage an attorney to make sure everything is in order, but if you will not do that and addendum signed and notarized and kept with the will MIGHT be sufficient.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    These provisions should be included in your advance health care directives, not in your regular wills. The advance health care directives can be notarized or witnessed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    To do a new Will you will do an either a Codicil, which is an amendment to a Will, or just a new Will. However, it sounds as if you may need either Living Wills with a designation of anatomical gift, or a separate Anatomical Gift Form. See an attorney who specializes in estate planning for assistance.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, one needs to follow the same legal requirements for amending a will as for creating a will-signed in the presence of two credible witnesses.... Anatomical gifts are typically better left in a separate after-death document, so that someone can help carry out the organ donation wishes prior to a will being admitted for probate. A document for those wishes does not need to be notarized, and yes, you can create that document (have two witnesses sign it with you).
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    Anatomical gifts of body parts should not be in a will. In Missouri, you should do a health care power of attorney that also states that you want to donate body parts for transplant purposes. You should also sign the back of your driver's license. If you wish to donate your body for education/research, please contact the educational institution where you wish to donate your body. There are forms that need to be filled out prior to your death. Without these forms, the educational institution usually will not accept the body. Let your relatives know that you wish to donate your body and give them photocopies of the executed documents received from the educational institution so you do not end up being buried or cremated.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Kosloff & Greenwood
    Kosloff & Greenwood | Oliver Greenwood
    Unless this is specific to ask institution you can add this language to your advanced healthcare directive.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    You should not write the "addendum" to you will yourself. The correct term is "codicil." This document may add to, change or delete provisions in the wills you've already made. May sure that you have signed the donor form on the back of your driver's license and make sure close family are aware of your desire to donate organs for transplantation. If you want to leave your body or parts thereof to science, I suggest you contact the two major medical schools in the area: St. Louis University and Washington University. Missouri has a Uniform Anatomical Gifts law that you may want to "Google."
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    You need to work through appropriate changes to your Wills and Powers of Attorney for health care. I urge you to have an attorney assist you. In Nevada, a Will cannot be changes with a notarized document alone.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    Any change to a will must be signed and witness in the same manner as the original will. Any addendum, or codicil, must be signed and witnessed in the same manner as the original will. Organ donation directions can be made in a Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Illinois has a statutory form Healthcare Power of Authority wherein the agent for healthcare is given the authority to arrange the donation and the principal provides direct authorization.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/27/2013
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