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What is a codicil to a will, and how does one work?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2023 | Wills And Trusts |

A codicil modifies or adds to a previously executed will. It is a legal document you can use to make minor changes to a will, such as changing the executor, adding or removing beneficiaries or altering specific gifts. 

A codicil operates as an amendment to a will. You must follow the same process for a codicil that you used for the original will. 

How do you create a codicil?

Creating a codicil begins with identifying the provisions of the will that need to be changed. The individual, also known as the testator, must draft a document explaining the changes they wish to make. The codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same manner as the original will.

It is important to note that a codicil is not a substitute for a new will. While making multiple codicils to a will is possible, it may become difficult for executors and beneficiaries to understand the testator’s intentions if there are too many changes. In such cases, creating a new will that incorporates all the changes is recommended.

How do you implement the codicil?

When testators die, their will and codicils are presented to the probate court for validation. The court will consider the validity of the will and the codicil, including the testator’s mental capacity and whether the document was correctly executed. If the court finds the will and codicil valid, they will be admitted to probate, and the terms will be carried out according to the testator’s wishes.

A codicil is a useful tool for making minor changes to a will. It is an amendment to the will and must be executed with the same formalities. Knowing your rights and options is necessary for estate planning.