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Important Note
  • You must have a Last Will and Testament in place before you can draft a Codicil.
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Last Update June 12th, 2024

Also Known As

Amendment to Will

Addendum to Will

Codicil

Will Suplement

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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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Preview of your Codicil to Will

CODICIL TO LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF _________
I, _________, known as the "Testator", currently residing in _________, California, hereby affirm this document as my codicil, referred to as "Codicil", to my previously executed last will and testament, dated _________, which I will hereinafter refer to as my "Last Will".
1) Clause _________ of my Last Will shall be modified in the following manner:
- The recipient of _________ shall be modified from "_________" to "_________ currently residing in _________, California."
2) I hereby confirm and republish my Last Will, originally dated _________, in its entirety, except as explicitly altered herein.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have affixed my signature on this ________________________, in _________. I declare and attest that this document is my Codicil to Last Will. It is witnessed and subscribed to by the undersigned witnesses, who did so at my request and in my presence.

_____________________________
_________
SIGNED AND DECLARED by _________ on the ________________________ to be his Codicil to Last Will, in our presence, at _________, California, who at his request, in his presence and in the presence of each other, all being present at the same time, have signed our names as witnesses.
________________________________________________
Witness #1 SignatureWitness #1 Name (Please Print)
  
________________________________________________
Witness #1 Street AddressWitness #1 City/State
  
________________________________________________
Witness #2 SignatureWitness #2 Name (Please Print)
  
________________________________________________
Witness #2 Street AddressWitness #2 City/State

County of ____________________
State of California

A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.


On this ________ day of ________________, ________, before me, ____________________ personally appeared: ___________________________________, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that she/he/they executed the same in her/his/their authorized capacities, and that by her/his/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.


________________________________
Notary Public

________________________________
(print name)
Instructions For Executing Your Codicil

      Before signing your Codicil, ensure you have read it and understand your document, and that the document printed with all required information.
Your Signature:

      To properly execute your Codicil, you will have to be present with your chosen witnesses. You will have to identify to them that this document is your Codicil to Last Will and Testament. You will then initial each page of the document at the bottom of the page, below all the text, except the signing page of your Codicil, which requires your full signature. To be valid, you must sign the final page with your usual check-signing signature. No text should appear on the last page after your signature – other than the witness signing area. Signing and initialing of the pages must occur in the presence of your witnesses.
Witness Signatures:

      While most states only require two witnesses, three witnesses are required in Vermont. After you have signed and initialed your document in front of witnesses, your witnesses must acknowledge that they are witnessing your Codicil and then must initial each of the preceding pages beside where you initialed and then sign and fill out the required information on the signing page of the Codicil. This must occur in your presence. You should then instruct your witnesses that they may have to appear before a court to verify that this process was completed and that you were of age and sound mind at the time.
      When you and your witnesses initial the bottom of each page make sure to initial below all of the text of the document – no text should appear on the page after the initials. Why is it a good idea to initial each page? Initialing each page will help to ensure that a page will not be improperly inserted or replaced some time later.

Remember: Your witnesses should be competent adults who are not receiving anything under your Codicil, and are not the spouses of individuals receiving anything under your Codicil.
Louisiana: Louisiana has special requirements for executing a Last Will or Codicil. In Louisiana you must sign in the presence of a notary and two witnesses. The testator must sign at the end and on each other separate page. Then, in the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and the witnesses must sign a declaration stating that the Last Will or Codicil was executed properly.
Storing your Last Will:

      Store your Will and Codicils in a safe place where your executor or personal representative will be able to locate it. You can make photocopies, but the original, signed and witnessed, will have to be produced before probate occurs. If you have older Wills they should be destroyed.
Marriage:

      If you marry you should make a new Will. In most jurisdictions, Wills made prior to marriage become invalid on marriage. When other relevant changes occur in your life, you should review your Will to see if it still reflects your wishes and is valid. If not, you should make a new one.
Instructions for Using Your Self-proving Codicil Affidavit

      Probating a Codicil is less expensive if the witnesses do not have to testify in court. Most states will accept an Affidavit signed by witnesses and a notary in place of testimony in court. Where applicable, a self-proving Affidavit has been included with your document. By having the witnesses to your Codicil appear with you before a Notary Public and sign this Affidavit under oath, you can waive the requirement for one or more of your witnesses to appear in court to acknowledge the proper execution of your Codicil. This can be done at the same time as signing your Codicil or at any later date. The affidavit included is state specific but your Notary may prefer to use his own forms. Once the Affidavit has been completed and sealed by the Notary, you can staple it to your Codicil. This is an entirely optional procedure. If you believe you will be creating a new Will in the foreseeable future, it may not be worth the effort to make this Codicil self proving. Whether or not you use the Affidavit does not affect the validity of your Codicil.
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Important Note
  • You must have a Last Will and Testament in place before you can draft a Codicil.