Does Your Will Need A Codicil?

Wills provide loved ones with a sure path to deal with estate matters at a time when they are grieving and confused. If you already have a will in place, you must know that as your life changes, so must your will. Failing to update your will could cause even more problems than not having one, and doing so is so easy that you should not have an excuse. Read on to learn more about updating your will and how it's done.

Adding a codicil to your will

This is a very old term, which is to be understood since the concept of a last will and testament has been around for a long time. When written wills first came into being, the printed word was a laborious process. Text had to be printed by hand using quill and ink, making it a time-consuming process when corrections or additions to the will were needed.

Enter the codicil, a Latin word that translates loosely to little codex, or a little bit of writing. With a codicil, there was no need to re-do the entire document by hand; the barrister just added the additional writing onto the will by adding in another sheet or so of paper. The codicil can make previous mistakes right, add additional information about estate property or beneficiaries or totally remand a previous section of the will to be null and void.

For example, if a will instructs that natural born children of the deceased are entitled to inherit the estate that could be amended to include adopted children or the addition of a certain named child. You have probably also heard of codicils being used to this effect in numerous murder mysteries or television dramas, where the codicil that totally changed the will was found at just the right moment.

When to use a codicil

No one's life remains so unchanged that it fails to affect a will. When you consider the effect of births, deaths, property lost and gained and more you can understand the need to update a will every few years. Family relationships also change, as does favorite charities. For example, if you have added a beloved pet to your family since your will was last updated, you should ensure that your pet continues to be cared for by the person of your choosing, and that the person designated is provided with some funds to do so.

If it's been some time since you last visited your will, speak with probate lawyers to update that will, whether it be by using a codicil or by re-doing it on the computer (something not available to your forefathers).