A codicil is a document that makes changes to an existing will but does not entirely replace it. The form allows you to change your will without entirely coming up with a new one. It is important to note that the codicil must be signed the same way as the will was signed. You can, however, use different witnesses from those in the original will. Always ensure that the codicil indicates the date of your current will so that it can be read in conjunction with it. Once a will is altered by codicil, it should always be kept in the original will.
A codicil comes in handy if you only want to make a few straightforward changes to your original will. In case you want to make more changes, it is recommended that you create a new will. It is important to note that a will can be amended by one codicil. However, with many codicils, it can become complicated to keep track of them. Ensure that each codicil refers explicitly to existing will and other previous amendments. Furthermore, it would help if you kept them together for easier access. If you find yourself trying to make more than four codicils, it is time to develop a new will.
When Do I Need a Codicil to Will?
Codicils are used when you want to make changes to an existing will. You may want to make changes like:
- Removing an ex-partner or family.
- Changing the executors.
- Updating your funeral wishes.
- Adding new beneficiaries such as grandchildren.
- Leaving more or less money to a beneficiary.
- Updating the name of the beneficiary.
It is recommended to use a codicil when you need to make small changes to the original will. The change shouldn’t substantially replace the original document. Codicils are ideal when you need to make small but essential changes to your will.
Who can Change a Will?
It is only the creator of the original will that can make changes to it. This means that even if someone else acquires a court order mandate, they don’t have permission to create a codicil. The creator only makes changes to the principal will.
What Changes Can I Make to my Will?
Here are some of the situations that might need you to use codicils. First, you need to add a new property to your will or include your granddaughter, who wasn’t around when you wrote the will. These are some of the situations that a codicil to will applies.
Codicils are typically used for:
- Changing your will’s executor
- Including new beneficiaries
- Small changes to beneficiary inheritance
- Adding new properties and assets to your will
- Changes to marital status or other relationships
- Any other incidental changes
How do I Write a Codicil to a Will?
You are allowed to make any changes to your will, including adding a new property that you may have forgotten in the original copy. You can also include newly acquired property that wasn’t there at the time of writing. Some examples of this situation can be when you win a lottery or when you inherit property from a deceased relative.
If you find yourself trying to make extensive changes, it is recommended that you write a new will. For example, if you get divorced, married, or have children, it is better that you just a new will that will capture all these significant developments.
Codicils are documents that act as backups to the last will. This means that you have the chance to make edits or changes to an existing will. You can add more information, remove some of it, or replace it partially. A supplement or addition to your will modifies it to fit your preferences.
There is a specific procedure you need to follow when creating a codicil. This is just like making the testament form or last will. Writing a will should be from within, but if you don’t have the necessary skills to do so, you can ask a legal person to guide you in writing it.
Explained below are steps to creating a codicil.
1. Find a Current Copy of Your Will and Decide on Changes
In most cases, wills are detailed documents that can be complicated to amend. Therefore, you need to thoroughly review the current copy of your will and identify the areas you wish to make changes.
2. Write the Codicil
After reviewing the copy and identifying the changes you want to make, go ahead and implement them. It is recommended that you have the necessary information when creating a codicil. You can inquire from your lawyer on the best way to handle the process.
3. Sign the Codicil With Witnesses
You need to sign the codicil in the presence of at least two witnesses. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries of the will in any way.
4. Attach the Codicil to the Will
Attaching the codicil to the will is the last step. After that, distribute copies of the updated document to the necessary parties.
Free Codicil to Will Form Templates
The importance of codicils is overwhelming. Codicil templates come in handy when looking to make changes to your will. You can download the free codicil templates for better assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I revoke my codicil?
Yes, you can make changes or revoke your codicil at any time. If you feel that the changes you intend to make to your will are too many, it is recommended that you create a new will.
Can a codicil be handwritten?
Yes, a will or codicil can be handwritten. The handwriting should, however, be neat and easy to read. There are some states, however, that require all codicils to be printed out and signed.
When is a codicil valid?
A codicil is valid as long as the creator signs it in the presence of witnesses. It is important to note that codicil are only legally binding if the signatures are valid.
How much would a codicil cost me?
It depends on how much you need to change in your will. Smaller changes are relatively cheap and cost less than $100. Most states charge between $40-$80 for a codicil.