How to Create a Codicil
Codicils require the same careful consideration and formalities
as wills. For example, the rules of execution require you to sign the codicil
in the presence of two witnesses if you are a resident of Fort Wayne,
Indiana. Some states require three
witnesses. In certain circumstances, a notary may be required. You should consult with an experienced estate
planning attorney who can assist you in understanding the precise requirements.
When to Use a Codicil
Codicils are most useful to make changes to wills that are
largely limited in scope. An example of
such a change would be the designation of the person you would like to act as
your personal representative. Likewise, after
creating your will initially, you may subsequently decide to specify that a
particular asset be distributed to a specific individual. Another common change effected by a codicil
is the naming of a guardian for surviving minor children.
When to Create a New Will Instead of Writing a Codicil
If you are considering the elimination of one or more named
beneficiaries in your will, in most cases it is preferable to not resort to a
codicil, but rather create an entirely new will. Your desire to make such changes to your
named beneficiaries may arise due to divorce, marriage, the birth of a child,
or the death of a previously named beneficiary.
Another reason to write a new will is when there has been a significant
change in assets.
Writing a New Will
When you execute a new will
you should revoke all prior wills and codicils.
Often this is accomplished by explicitly stating in your new will that
you are revoking all prior wills and codicils. Without an explicit revocation of
these prior documents, the court will deem the prior documents valid which may potentially
give rise to complex, time consuming and expensive procedures to resolve conflicting
language. We are experienced estate
planning attorneys who can help you understand and address all relevant issues related
to wills and codicils.