Modifying a Will
Sometimes a person executes a document believed to be his last will and testament. Assuming that the document is properly drafted and executed, a will that was created is the last will and testament of the person from the date it was written to the time when the individual dies, unless the will is modified or revoked by a codicil properly drafted and executed.
What is a Codicil? A codicil is a document that amends a will but does not replace it. It is meant to be used when certain provisions of the will need to be changed. A codicil can be used to add or remove elements of a will. Any part of the original will was not amended or revoked by the codicil, remains in force when the person dies. Typically, a codicil is used for relatively small change specific provisions of the will. For example, if an individual originally left her diamond ring to her daughter and then decided to leave it to their granddaughter, rather than the daughter, then a properly executed codicil could be used to fulfill that legacy. Similarly, if you sell or lose the ring after you made the will, then the ring gift made in your will would be null and void to run at the time of his death. On that basis, you would let your daughter another piece of jewelry or personal belongings. A codicil allows an individual to avoid having to spend time and money in the implementation of an entirely new will to make these changes relatively small.
Make sure your intended effect Codicil There are three things to keep in mind if you want to ensure that the wishes will be respected in his codicil. You must ensure that:
- His intention was expressed as specific and clear : If there is a conflict between his will and codicil, then the will have preference to previously drafted and executed properly, which control the distribution of your property. Consequently, it is important to be specific and accurate when using a codicil to modify a will.
- Your Codicil can be easily located : its codicil is ineffective if you can not find for the administration of your estate. For this reason, in their own interest, must retain its codicil with his last will and testament, so that these documents can be read together and your wishes can be respected.
- Your Codicil executed properly: its codicil must be executed in their heritage just as a will. Often this means that 2 or 3 witnesses must be present and you must state your mind is in good condition and has not been coerced to write the paper. If your jurisdiction recognizes holographic wills, then they can be recognized and enforceable.
A codicil is a useful document to make relatively small changes to your will. However, if there is a substantial change in family relationships, such as divorce or remarry, then you should consider the advisability of drafting a new will to reflect your new family relationships.