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Last Update February 27th, 2024


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What Is a Codicil to Will

A Codicil is a legal document that modifies your Last Will and Testament, allowing you to update your present Will. You can change, add, or remove clauses in your Will using codicils, which keeps your estate plan current.

Codicils must be signed following your state’s laws or include an affidavit that serves as self-proof.

Other names for Codicils include:

  • Amendment to Will

  • Addendum to Will

Use our trusted Codicil to Will template to ensure your document contains no errors.

When to Use a Codicil

It’s essential to use your Codicil correctly, or you may have difficulty altering your will. 

You should only use a Codicil in the following circumstances:

  • To make minor changes. You can alter the meaning or aim of the original Last Will and Testament by introducing small amendments.

  • To fix errors. You can prevent any confusion by correcting any mistakes you may find in your Will.

  • To reassign assets.  You can alter the distribution of your assets in case you generate more wealth or one of your beneficiaries passes away. 

  • To change the executor. You have the legal right to replace the executor appointed in your original will for any reason.

  • To arrange your funeral. You can modify this section of your Will if you have any special wishes regarding your funeral.

  • To waive ademption. You can revoke a gift if the asset has been damaged or sold.

Codicil Example

Like with any legal form, it is best to review a sample before using a Codicil to Will template.

The sample Codicil provided below will help you understand exactly what should be included in this document:

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Codicil to Will Sample

How to Write a Codicil to a Will

Drafting an unclear or incorrect Codicil can cause the changes to your Will to be declared null.  

Ensure your Codicil is legally valid by completing the following steps to create your own form:

  1. Write the introduction. Include your name, city, county, and state of residence. Add the date of the Will it refers to, and indicate that this Codicil amends it. 

  2. Add a section with the amendments. Ensure that you reference the article numbers in the Will that you are modifying or deleting.

  3. Fill out the terms. Confirm other terms, clauses, and declarations not mentioned in the Codicil are still in effect.

  4. Sign the form. Have two witnesses sign the document and also include your signature.

  5. Add a Self-Proving Affidavit. Facilitate the probate process by signing it in front of a notary public.  

How to Amend a Will With a Codicil

If you want to amend your Will, you need to make an official amendment in the form of a Codicil. Without this form, your Last Will won't be updated.

The process is not any easier than writing a new Will because a Codicil also needs the testator to follow the same legal execution procedures as a Will

Use simple, concise wording. Being direct will prevent anything from being misinterpreted. By using unambiguous language, you reduce the possibility that the Codicil may be contested.

Go through the steps below to amend your Will with a Codicil:

  1. Get an original copy of the latest version of your Will to reference to it in your Codicil.

  2. Write down the section numbers of your will that you want to change to include them in the Codicil.

  3. Draft the Codicil form.

  4. Sign it.

Attach the Codicil to the Will and keep a copy.

When to Create a New Last Will

Having too many Codicils can complicate your estate plan, as they might conflict with one another and make the probate process more difficult.

Rather than executing a lengthy, intricate Codicil, it may make more sense to write a new Will.

If one of the following situations arises, you should think about making a new Last Will:

  • The distribution of your estate is impacted by modifications to the tax code.

  • Your Last Will is old and needs updating.

  • A beneficiary, guardian, or executor named in your Will dies.

  • Your marital status changes.

  • Your finances, assets, or property have changed considerably.

  • You relocate to a new state.

  • You want to include a newborn or adopted child in your will.

Other Estate Planning Documents

In addition to our free printable Codicil to Will form, you may find the following personal and family documents useful:

These documents are also intended to safeguard your estate and provide for your family if something were to happen to you.

Codicil to Will FAQs

Examine the most frequently asked questions to clear up any confusion regarding how Codicils work.

Before creating your own Codicil to Will, read the answers carefully

Can I Have Many Codicils?

There are no legal restrictions on drafting multiple Codicils, so the answer is yes. Yet, having a Will that is simple to understand should be your aim. 

Your executor and beneficiaries may become confused if you have too many Codicils. 

Consider writing a new Last Will rather than several Codicils.

Should I Notarize a Codicil?

As a general rule, Codicils do not need to be notarized in the majority of states. 

However, there are some circumstances in which it is a requirement. For example, in Louisiana, you need a notary public and two witnesses.

To ensure that your Codicil's legitimacy is uncontested, have it notarized even if it is not required.

Can I Revoke a Codicil?

Yes, in the event you no longer need a Codicil it can be revoked. When a Codicil is added to a Will and later revoked, the original provisions of the Will that were altered by the Codicil regain their original intent.

Remember that your goal should be to have a Will that is easy to understand. You might wish to think about writing a new Will to prevent disagreements between your executors and beneficiaries.

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Codicil to Will Sample

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