What Is A Codicil?
Posted on 13th July 2020
Once you have made your Will, you may think that everything is sorted for your lifetime and you will not have to worry about it again. However, what happens when you need to make an amendment to your Will? Our local solicitors for Wills explain how you might amend your Will, and whether it is a good idea to add a codicil.
What is a codicil?
A codicil is an additional legal document that can be used to explain or alter your Will. For example, it will usually make reference to your Will and set out a change to a particular clause in your Will.
As an example, a codicil could say that, in your existing Will, you wish to change Executor X to Executor XY.
The Pros and Cons of adding a codicil to a Will
Sadly, life can be very unpredictable. As your circumstances change, you may need or want to make an alteration to your Will, with an addition that changes your current Will clauses, such as by revoking them, or with a supplement that explains the current clauses of your Will.
One advantage of making a codicil is that it can help avoid the need for you to make a new Will and, historically, this may have been a cheaper option.
However, one potential issue with making a codicil is that, unless it is stored correctly, your codicil could be missed by your Executors in the future. For this reason, local solicitors for Wills would generally suggest that, if your changes are going to be quite big, a new Will could be more appropriate. As an example, if you want to change a gift of property, making a codicil could lead to ambiguity in the future, and therefore cause a potential Will dispute. Accordingly, our team of Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors would always suggest making a new Will in these circumstances.
When do I need to change my Will?
It can seem like an annoyance and something that you really want to avoid, amending your Will. However, there are definite times in your life when you should consider reviewing or amending your Will:-
- If one of your named Executors has died or is no longer able to act, you may wish to appoint a new Executor.
- If you get married, in England and Wales, your Will is revoked (unless your current Will makes specific reference to your marriage; you can read about this in our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors’ blog, here).
- If your financial circumstances have changed, you may need to review the gifts or distribution of your residuary Estate under the terms of your Will.
- If your family has changed in size, for example if you have had children or grandchildren, you may wish to update your Will to include your new loved ones.
- If you are separated or getting divorced, you may wish to amend your Will so that, before your divorce is finalised, your estranged spouse does not benefit. Once your divorce has been finalised, your ex-spouse will be treated as though they have predeceased you. Therefore, any clauses in your Will which names your ex-spouse, could be voided.
How can I change my Will?
Well, our team at MG Legal can help. Our expert local solicitors for Wills are able to assist you with making amendments to your current Will or making a new Will, if you do not already have one in place.
We offer fixed fee Wills for £110.00 plus VAT for a single Will and £195.00 plus VAT for mirror Wills.
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