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Codicil vs. New Will: What should I do?

codicil wills Jul 24, 2019

Many people contact our office and want to make a small change to their wills. For some clients, it may be that their executor has died, or maybe their child is now old enough to become the executor. Whatever the change and reason for the change, we are often asked if the change should be done by Codicil or a will-re-write.

A codicil is a document separate from the original and apart from the will that makes an addition or a change to the will. In our office we try to avoid creating codicils to wills. So, the original will can be read along with the codicil which amends the original will. The executor and the beneficiaries will know what your original document said as well as what the change was. For example, if your original will had been written that you wanted your cousin, Jack to be the executor, and then you subsequently signed a codicil that revoked Jacks appointment and instead appointed your cousin Molly. Both Molly and Jack would know about this change. While no one would probably care if you changed your named executor if you had changed the amount of money your beneficiary was going to inherit from $10,000.00 to $1,000.00 this may be the impetus for the beneficiary to challenge your capacity knowing if they are successful, they will inherit $9,000.00 more.  

If the will was a document that was written by our office, we often have the copy on our system, so we revise that electronic copy, print a new will and have that document signed as opposed to re-writing the will. We only charge the cost of preparing a codicil. The reason we prefer this method of updating a will is because it prevents the beneficiary from knowing about any changes and questioning if these were valid.

If you have questions or concerns about making a change to your will call our office. My team and I are here to help!


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