For many people, preparing a will is a significant task that takes time and effort. After it is completed, you may feel that you’ve checked that box and no longer need to worry about your estate plans. In reality, a will requires periodic review in order to make sure that it continues to represent the current status of your assets and your intentions after death.

In South Dakota, once you formally complete and sign a will, it remains a valid legal document until the time of your death. It does not expire. That said, a will can become out of date because it no longer accurately reflects your current situation, your current assets, or your intentions for how you would like your assets to be distributed. For example, you may have another child, or adopt a child, and wish to add them into the will in order to ensure their interests are protected.

While there is no set required time for reviewing or updating a will, it is generally recommended to review your will every three to five years to consider whether it needs to be updated to reflect your family circumstances or other changes to your life. A will should also be reviewed any time you experience a significant change in your affairs, such as marrying/remarrying, getting divorced or selling a home. A will may also need to be reviewed and updated if there are significant changes to the tax code or tax issues that would impact the distribution of your assets.

Updating a will requires witnesses to sign the new will. Handwritten notations to make changes on a will aren’t considered valid. You may elect to rewrite your will in order to make updates, or you can add a codicil to the will to address new circumstances. A codicil is a written amendment to a will that adds a provision, or changes certain provisions, but otherwise leaves the remainder of the will intact. A rewritten will, or codicils to a will, will need to be executed in the same way as the original will in order to be valid.

If you have recently reviewed your will and are concerned that it may need to be updated, a wills and trusts attorney can help you to review your original document, determine what changes may need to be made and work with you to execute those changes in the most efficient manner possible.

At Anker Law Group, P.C., we often work with long-standing clients to assist them in the preparation and continued updating of their wills. Whether you worked with us to initially prepare your will or are looking for a new attorney to help you in reviewing and updating it, please call our Rapid City office at 605-519-5967 or contact us online anytime.

Contact us

Please fill out form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.


Office Location

  • Rapid City Office


    1301 West Omaha Street
    Suite 207
    Rapid City, South Dakota 57701