In Florida, after people write wills, there are sometimes changes in circumstances that necessitate making changes to the beneficiaries of the will. Sometimes people have a child after the will was written. In other cases, a person gets divorced from a spouse that was named as a beneficiary in the other will.

Whatever the reason that a change is needed, people sometimes forget that they need to change the beneficiaries in their wills. If they fail to do so, it can mean protracted probate fights or a person who should have inherited being left out.

People should conduct a periodic review of their will to make certain it is up-to-date. If a change in beneficiary is needed, the will needs to be updated in order to reflect the change. People can amend their wills to remove a beneficiary or to add one by writing codicils to the original will. A codicil effectively amends the will. As a codicil will be incorporated into the will, it is important that it is written correctly so it will be given its appropriate weight by the court. When a testator intends to omit a child or spouse, that intention must be clearly stated on the face of the will. Otherwise, the child or spouse may be considered to be a pretermitted heir and will inherit despite their omission from the will.

If the language in a will is vague or if a later-born child or spouse is omitted, the will may end up being subjected to a will contest following the testator’s death. Care should be taken to ensure that the will remains up-to-date and that intended beneficiaries are clearly identified in the will. There are multiple statutes that address deficiencies in wills in Florida. If the will is vague or leaves people out, the statutes will then apply.