Codicils work as amendments or modifications to existing wills. They are typically issued by the testator (i.e., the person who is writing the Will) in the instance that they want something changed after drafting and sealing the initial Will. When any changes occur to a) Make the terms of the original Will impossible or b) Coerce the testator into modifying the Will, a codicil will be required to update the existing, initial will legally. The codicil is then attached to the Will, making it a formal amendment to the Will itself.
When will i need a codicil to a will?
Like we said earlier, a codicil will be required when any changes need to be made to an existing will. The reasons for modifying the Will can vary, but the legal procedure to do so will always involve adding a codicil, which functions, essentially, as a legal amendment to an existing will. All codicils will have to follow state law, rather than federal law. As a result, the codicil will have to be written, signed, and executed within the state in which the original Will that is to be amended was written. Additionally, you should note that this slightly changes the requirements for a codicil – some states, such as Colorado, require codicils to be signed in front of two witnesses who aren’t a beneficiary of the Will. In other states, the codicil may simply be attached to any witness. Furthermore, some states require the codicil to be notarized and recommend that a codicil be accompanied by an additional affidavit. This affidavit is known as a self-proving affidavit and compels the witnesses to declare that they were in the presence of the testator when the Will (and codicil!) were signed.
How do i amend an existing will?
Amending an existing will requires a codicil, a legal document signed by the testator (the person who declares their Will). To attach a codicil, you may follow these steps;
- Obtain a legal copy of the latest version of the Will – You will need to source the latest version of the Will, which includes a copy of the original Will itself, as well as any previous codicils (if applicable) and any other changes that may have been made.
- Consider what you wish to amend – A codicil can change any and all tenets of an existing will. As a result, the testator should make up his/her mind on what they would like to amend. Beneficiaries, manner of execution, time of execution as well as many other particulars can be amended.
- Drafting the codicil – Drafting this document is a straightforward process, but it is very important. It needs to refer to the original Will, which requires a declaration at the very beginning of the document, with reference to the original Will, date of the original Will, and Will number (if applicable!). It should also include the date on which the codicil is being added, as well as the legal name of the testator and the testator’s signature. Once these details are added, the testator needs to declare how he/she wishes to amend the original Will.
Keep in mind that some states require witnesses who aren’t beneficiaries or executors of the original Will to be present when the codicil is signed by the testator. Some states also require that witnesses provide and attach a self-proving affidavit, which is a document that declares the witnessing of the signature by the testator.
Once these details have been addressed, the codicil is ready to be attached to the original Will. If you are still confused on how to draft and prepare a codicil, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a template that can be used as-is, modified to better suit your needs. We haven’t added a signatory section, which is typically regarding the names of all the parties involved. This only contains the body of the codicil to will addendum, so make sure to add names and dates to the document. Additionally, we also recommend having legal counsel around when drafting such documents, particularly if they contain legal intricacies that can be much trickier to deal with.
Codicil to Will Template
I hereby wish to add the following amendments to the Will, signed on (date of original Will) in the form of this codicil;
(Here, you may specify any changes you wish to make to the original Will.)
TERMS OF THE ORIGINAL WILL
For any legal purposes and/or consideration, the terms of the Will signed __ will continue to be held enforceable and will remain in effect unless explicitly specified otherwise within this codicil.
I hereby agree that, without any duress or undue influence, the aforementioned changes reflect my wishes as it pertains to my Will dated . (Date of the original Will.) I hereby declare so in the presence of ____ & __
(Here, all witnesses must be named.
Testator Signature _ DATE _
Witness Name _
Witness Signature __ DATE _
- MS Word