Why (and when) could I utilize a codicil to my will?

By | May 13, 2008

At times, circumstances in our lives may change. This can be due to a remarriage, birth, death, divorce, change of address, change of executor or guardian, or other situations where our present will may not cover everything that we now believe it should, but for the most part, it is still factual. We may have acquired additional assets or, in the alternative, we have recently disposed of assets that are bequeathed (assigned to a specific person) in our present will, or we wish to distribute one specific part of our assets in a different manner. It is under these conditions where it can be beneficial to change one specific part of a will rather than rewrite an entire will. It can also be far more cost-effective to draft a codicil when only a specific portion of a will needs to be altered.

However, it should be noted that a codicil should only be utilized when a very small, minor change is occurring. If, for instance, a remarriage, divorce, birth, death, asset gain or loss, or the like would require several changes, then an entirely new will should be drafted. It is important to remember that a codicil cannot stand by itself and is not legally binding unless attached and related to a current, signed and witnessed will. A codicil is the appropriate choice if you can alter your present will by simply adding a paragraph or two, which does not affect the provisions set forth in the rest of your will. If that is true and the change is minor, then this is the correct action to take when deciding a change in the distribution of your assets.

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