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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/4-9: Effect of Alteration

Once you write a will and execute it in the manner required by Illinois law, it is permanent unless you change it or revoke it. In order for a change or alteration to your will to be legally effective it must be executed as required by the Article IV of the Illinois Probate Act. Otherwise, the change will fail and the will as originally executed will stand. If you would like to make changes to your will, it is important that you worked with an experienced Chicago will attorney who will ensure that the changes you make to your will are properly executed.

Effect of Alteration

The effect of alteration of a will is that it will not change the terms of a will unless the change is properly executed. The document that purports to change the will must:

  • The change must be in writing. Like oral wills, oral changes to will are not valid in Illinois.
  • The testator must make the change, or direct another person to make the change in the presence of the testator.
  • The testator must sign the will.
  • There must be at least two witnesses.

If you fail to properly execute the changes in your will, the changes will have failed and will be ignored. As a result, your true wishes will not be followed during probate. Thus, it is important that you discuss your changes with an experienced will attorney in Chicago in order to ensure they are valid.

Reasons to Alter a Will

Because your circumstances may change, it is a good idea to review your will every few years to make sure that you do not need to update or change any of its terms. Events that may trigger a change include:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Death of your spouse, any of your children, or any of your beneficiaries
  • Significant increase or decrease in the value of your estate, or making a substantial purchase such as buying a house
  • Any other event that may cause you to reevaluate how you distribute your assets

While one way to update your will is to alter, substitute, interlineate or delete of any part of your will as described in Article IV, Section 4-9 of the Illinois Probate Act, another way is to revoke your current will and execute a new will.


Dan never married and did not have children. He decided to leave his entire estate to his nieces, Sally and Patty. Ten years after executing his will a good friend passed away from cancer. Dan decided change his will to leaving a lump sum of $25,000 to a charitable organization that supported cancer research. Dan contacted a Chicago will lawyer for guidance as to the effect of alteration of his will and to determine to best way to update his will and to

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Signing and attestation: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-3
  2. Beneficiary or creditor as witness: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-6
  3. Revocation - revival: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-7
Illinois Probate Act, Section 4-9- Effect of Alteration

Effect of alteration. An addition to a will or an alteration, substitution, interlineation or deletion of any part of a will which does not constitute a revocation of a will is of no effect, unless made by the testator or by some person in his presence and by his direction and consent and unless the will is thereafter signed and attested in the manner prescribed by this Article for the execution of a will.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

There are countless reasons that a testator may decide to make changes to his or her will. It is important to make such changes in the manner such that they will be valid. Discuss your plans with a skilled will attorney serving Chicago who will ensure that the changes to your will are property executed. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing individuals, executors, beneficiaries, and heirs in estate matters. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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