Decisions aren’t always final, especially when you need to name or add a new beneficiary to your last will. Moreover, changes in the provisions of these legal instruments are also typical whenever its provisions no longer serve their purpose. And if you need to do these changes for some reason, making any will need to be legally documented and executed in a codicil to a will. Read More
A codicil to will is a legal instrument that enables the testator to make amendments or modifications to their last will. These amendments or modifications may include changing some of its provisions as well as naming new beneficiaries to the testator’s last will. Codicils are all required to be executed according to state regulations or with a self-proving affidavit.
How To Create a Codicil to Will
People execute codicils whenever the testator needs to make some changes to their last will. And, these also make it easy to make amendments without having to re-draft the testator’s whole estate plan. Provided in the list below are the steps on how to create a codicil to a will.
1. Review Your Last Will and List the Changes that You Wish to Make
Codicils contain all the amendments or changes that you wish to make to your last will. And before writing one, you’ll first need to review the latest version of your last will and testament. You must then determine the parts that you need to change and draft them on a separate piece of paper. This allows you to finalize each of these amendments before transferring them to the codicil itself.
2. Introduce Yourself as the Testator to the Codicil
After making a list of amendments to your last will, the next thing to do is to begin writing the document itself. Codicils all start by introducing yourself as the testator or executor of the last will. To do so, all you need to do is write your name, mailing address, as well as the date of when the last will was created. Other than that, you would also need to declare that your last will is amended and republished by this codicil.
3. Write the List of Amendments in the Codicil
Next, write your list of amendments to your last will on the face of the codicil. And upon doing so, make sure to reference some sections in your previous will that you’ll need to change or modify. The same also applies when adding or replacing some representatives, executors, and beneficiaries to your last will, as well. Referencing sections and parts of your last will prevent confusion to your role and any parties relying on it.
4. Sign the Codicil According to Your State’s Requirements
After completing all the previous steps, the last thing you’ll need to do is to sign the codicil according to your state’s requirements. Some states may require that you sign the instrument along with two witnesses, while other states will require doing the same in front of a public notary. And, it’s also essential to take note that the witnesses that you’ll name in this codicil are the persons not mentioned in your last will.
5. Attach the Codicil to Your Last Will
Now that your POA form is complete, it’s time to attach it to your last will. Doing so allow the parties relying on your will to be aware of its latest changes, especially if your last will and testament have gone through amendments before. Aside from that, you may need a self-proving affidavit depending on state requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a codicil to will and addendum similar?
No. An addendum is an attachment that contains texts that serve as an appendix or supplement to the provisions of a certain legal document. A codicil, on the other hand, is an attachment that amends, modifies, or revokes a last will and testament or some parts of it.
What does a self-proving affidavit do for a codicil to will?
A self-proving affidavit is an attachment to a document that makes witnesses swear under oath that they witnessed the execution of a codicil. What this attachment does is that it provides an extra layer os security to a legal document, in this case, a codicil to a will. And, it also serves to prove further the legality and enforceability of the form and its declarations.
Who can be my witnesses to my codicil of will?
Anyone who is not mentioned in your last will and testament can become witnesses to your codicil of will. These can be friends and close acquaintances, as well as people of authority that don’t benefit from your last will. Take note that you can only have two witnesses to your codicil and may be required to sign the instrument in front of a public notary.
Can I have multiple codicils attached to my last will?
While there are no restrictions regarding the creation and attaching multiple codicils to last will and testaments, having more than three or four codicils in a row might confuse the parties that might rely on the last will. And although having multiple codicils is not discouraged, it is highly recommended that you consolidated previous codicils into a new last will and testament instead.
Who can have a copy of the codicil of my will?
Anyone listed in your last will can have a copy of the document. These people include your appointed personal representatives, executors, and beneficiaries in your will. It is also a must to distribute these copies so that they would be aware of the changes made in your last will. Aside from that, you have to provide a copy to the public notary if your state requires such.
The changing nature of time allows us to make minor adjustments and changes in our decisions. But when you need such adjustments to a duly executed last will, it must be well documented in writing. A codicil then will allow you to do such minor adjustments and changes legally and easily without having to create an entirely new last will and testament.