The Purpose of a Codicil

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.