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Codicil: An alternative to writing a new will for minor changes

Do you know what is a Codicil? How it is related to a will? When it should be used? Read on…

In “When you aren’t around – Succession Planning – Will and Nomination”, we saw the importance of making a will, and how a will should be made.

But what if you want to change something in the will? Do you write a new will, even for a small change? Is there another way?

Yes, there is!

 

Codicil

A codicil is a document that supplements a will. It is used to change something stated in a will, or to add to what is stated in a will. It can also be used to explain something that is already mentioned in the will.

Remember, a codicil can be used to “change” something in a will – this means that it can also be used to cancel some provision stated in a will.

A codicil can also be used to cancel an existing codicil.

 

How many Codicils can a will have?

A will can have multiple codicils, and all of them are deemed to form a part of the will. A will and all its codicils are supposed to be one single document, and are always read together for the interpretation of the will.

And for exactly that reason, you shouldn’t have more than a couple of codicils – more codicils make interpretation of the will confusing, and can lead to disputes.

Also, there is no way to specify the number of codicils existing to a will. So, if a codicil is lost or a fake codicil is added by someone with bad intention, there is no way for anyone to know!

 

Should you add a codicil to the will, or write a new will?

 

Add a Codicil

You should use a codicil only to make minor changes to a will. Otherwise, it has the potential to complicate the interpretation of the will.

For example, if you have acquired a new asset (like a new house) after making your will, you can add a codicil to your will mentioning who would inherit that asset.

 

Make a New Will

You should make a completely new will if the changes you want to make are significant.

You should also make a new will if the old will already has some codicils – adding one more codicil to an existing will can complicate its interpretation, especially if there is a dispute about inheritance after you.

 

How can a Codicil be made?

As we saw, a will and codicil are treated as one document. So, the process for making a codicil is the same as that of making a will.

A codicil has to be attested by two witnesses. But remember, these witnesses need not be the same as the ones who attested the original will – it can be different people.

Registration of a codicil is nor mandatory. However, if the will for which the codicil is made is registered, the codicil should also be registered.

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