A codicil is an amendment or change to a Will. The amendment or change may be just a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or more. But, whatever the change may be, it is important to note that a codicil does not replace a Will. Instead, the Will continues in existence, subject to the changes made by the codicil.

 

Because a codicil amends or changes a Will, a codicil must be executed with the same formalities as a Will. Generally, most states require that a codicil - as with a Will - be in writing, signed by the maker, and witnessed by two disinterested persons. For a listing of the requirements to make a Will or a codicil in each state, please click here .

 

Although not legally required, most draftspeople will include a sentence in a codicil confirming and republishing the Will in all respects other than as amended or changed by the codicil. The intent is to amend or change the Will, not revoke it. So, a statement to that effect is always good, because it helps to eliminate misunderstandings.

 

One of the drawbacks to a codicil is that you must keep track of each one, in addition to the Will itself. This may be rather difficult if a number of codicils are made over the years. For this reason, you should consider the following with respect to amendments or changes to a Will:

  • Number each codicil.  Numbering helps to identify and keep track of each codicil.
  • Keep each codicil with the Will itself, but don't attach the codicils to the Will.  Keeping them all in one place helps to insure that all of them are accounted for.
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  • Use a codicil only for minor amendments or changes to a Will.  If the changes are extensive, make a new Will. With word processors today, it's just as easy to re-do the entire Will as it is to create a codicil. Re-doing the entire Will eliminates the possibility of overlooking a codicil when the time comes.

The sample codicils presented in this section are designed to illustrate how codicils are generally drafted. Note that each codicil amends one of the sample Wills presented in this section. That will allow you to compare the original sample Will and the changes made by the codicil.

 

For a real life example of a codicil to a Last Will and Testament, see Codicil to Princess Diana's Last Will and Testament , which is at the end of her Last Will and Testament.

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