Why and when to use a Codicil?
A Codicil is a simple legal form to make minor changes or additions to an existing Will, such as:
- Adding or changing your Executor
- Adding or changing your Beneficiaries, or
- Adding an additional gift or donation to your Will
Once a Codicil has been signed and witnessed, it becomes part of the Will that it is amending. For more complex changes to your Will, it is much safer (and recommended) that you re-write your Will to ensure your intentions are clear.
Click on any of the questions below to reveal the answer.
Why would I need a Codicil?
- You only need a Codicil if you have an existing Will and wish to make minor changes to it. If you have re-thought your Will and wish to make more major changes, you are much better off writing a new Will and “revoking” (or cancelling) your old Will.
How easy is a Codicil to write?
- A Codicil is a very simple document, usually just 1-page. In the Legal123 Codicil template, you just need to insert your name, address and the date your Will was made and then detail the changes you wish to make to your Will.
If I change my address, do I need to make a Codicil?
- No, there is no need to change your Will or make a Codicil if you change your address. An old address can still be used to identify you and your Will. Don’t hand-write any change of address on your Will – it’s not necessary and it will invalidate your Will!
Can I amend my Will by handwriting changes and initialing beside them?
- No, you should never change your Will by handwriting changes, making notes or striking out any gifts or bequests. You should never write on your Will – it will invalidate the Will!
The procedure for making additions, substitutions, revisions, etc. to your Will is to make a Codicil. A Codicil must be typed, signed, dated and witnessed in accordance with the same formalities required to make a Will. If you fail to follow this, the changes you intend to make will not be effective and you increase the likelihood of your Will being contested or declared invalid.
How should my Codicil be signed and Witnessed?
- Your Codicil is signed and Witnessed in exactly the same manner as your Will. You and your Witnesses need to sign every page and your Witnesses need to watch you sign your signature.
Your Witnesses need to be independent, that is, they should not be the Beneficiaries of your Will or Codicil and should not be related to you. They do not have to be the same Witnesses that signed your Will.
What do I do with my Codicil once it is signed?
- You need to attach your Codicil to your Will and keep it in a safe place. It is important they are kept together and that both can be found when you pass away to ensure your wishes are clearly understood and carried out.
Do I need to lodge my Codicil?
- No, Wills and Codicils do not need to be lodged, just kept in a safe place. If you have a Codicil, make sure you attach it and keep it with your Will. It’s also a good idea to tell your family members and Executor of your Will where you have kept the Will (and Codicil) for safekeeping.
What if I have extensive or lengthy changes to make to my Will?
- It is much better to “revoke” (or cancel) your existing Will and make an entirely new Will if your changes are extensive. In addition, if you have made several Codicils already to your Will, and require further changes, it is best to “revoke” your existing Will and making a new Will that incorporates all your changes in one document to avoid any confusion.
The Codicil package includes
- Codicil form – Simple, online form that generates your 1-page Codicil in PDF format. Use this for making minor changes to your Will.
- Online video instructions – To walk you through, step-by-step, how to fill in the online form and generate your Codicil in PDF format.
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