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What is a Codicil and How to Use One

What is a Codicil and How to Use One


A codicil is a legal document that acts as a supplement to your last will and testament. In creating a codicil, you can make specific changes to your will without having to have an entirely new will drafted.

If you have a will, you’re off to a great start regarding your Estate Plan. To continue to make sure that your goals are met, however, you may need to update your will periodically. There are a few options to consider when considering estate plan amendments. First, you can create a new will. Creating a new will makes the previous last will and testament void and your estate will be distributed in accordance with the new will. However, if you would prefer to keep much of your will the same, you may opt to update your will by creating a codicil.


What is a Codicil?

A codicil is a legal document that acts as a supplement to your last will and testament. It allows you to make changes to different provisions of your will, without having to rewrite the entire document. For example, if you would like to update or change the name of a beneficiary due to a marriage or a divorce, a codicil is much easier and just as effective as creating a new will.


How do you use a Codicil?

If you have chosen to use a codicil to amend your will, there are a few steps you must take to ensure that your codicil is effective. First, identify any of the provisions that you would like to change in your current will. Take care to ensure that the will you are amending is valid and current with Indiana law. Second, you will need to have your changes documented in writing. After creating the codicil, you must sign it in front of two witnesses. It is important to note that the requirements for witnesses differ from state to state.  Following drafting and executing your codicil, make sure to keep your codicil with your will. This will allow for the two documents to be read together and will ensure that your changes are properly considered.

Remember that a codicil is only to be used for slight changes to your will. If you have any major changes that you would like to make regarding your will, it may be best to draft an entirely new will. This will allow for your loved ones to know exactly what your goals were regarding your estate and will greatly reduce the risk of litigation. If you have any questions about updating your estate plan, reach out to the experienced attorneys at McNeelyLaw LLP.


This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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