Listen to Lawrence…Should you amend a will with a codicil?

May 12, 2020

Dear clients and friends,

Here is one of your questions and my response:

I would like to know if a codicil can be done to expedite simple changes on an existing will? Please advise. Thank you.

A codicil is essentially an amendment to your Last Will and Testament and can be done at any time. You can change any part of your Will in this manner, such as who gets what, how they will get it and who will be in charge. A codicil has to properly refer to the Will and has to be executed in the same manner as a Will.

You may recall the ceremony you went through when you signed your Will. Among other requirements, you had to declare to two witnesses that the document was indeed your will and they either had to watch you sign it or you had to acknowledge that what they were looking at was actually your signature. You have to repeat all of this with a codicil too.

We prefer not to do codicils because life is just easier with one document rather than two. If you are a client of ours, we will have your Will in our computer which we can easily edit and reprint. Our fees will reflect the lower cost of a codicil rather than the full cost of a new Will. The newly revised Will simply replaces the old Will and you end up with just one document.

By the way, simply crossing out sections with a pen on your original Will does not work, nor does some notarized document that you concoct. You have to play by the rules I have provided above.

Let us know if there are any small or large changes you wish to make to your current documents.

I hope this helps.

Please pass this information to your family and friends and continue to keep your questions coming! If you are thinking about it, others are probably thinking about it too, so my answers will no doubt help you and many others. Let’s stay connected.