Recently we posted an article “When Should Update Your Will”. Not every change requires a new Will to be created, therefore at times a simple Codicil can be created for the existing Will. A Codicil is a document that amends specific provisions of the Will, while leaving the remaining provisions of the Will valid. You can create a Codicil yourself or reach out to an estate planning attorney for a relatively inexpensive cost.
Examples of simple changes that can be covered with a Codicil would include:
Changes for distribution of gifts
Adding or removing a named guardian if there was a marriage or divorce (ex. your sister is the named guardian who recently married, and you want to add her husband as a guardian as well)
Removing an heir that is deceased
Increasing a cash gift due to inflation
When creating a Codicil, make certain that the intentions are very clearly spelled out. Vague or unclear changes made may create legal complications for the estate. Make certain that it is specifically stated this is a Codicil to the Will, the date the Codicil is created, and what specifically the Codicil is changing. Additionally, make certain that the execution of the Codicil is in the same fashion as the original Will.
After the Codicil has been created, make certain that the Codicil is kept with the original Will. If the Codicil is not presented with the Will, the original desires of the Will are applied, and the Codicil is moot. We at Vault Keepers can assist you with the maintenance of the Codicil by placing it with the original Will, noting in the index the date the Codicil was received.
As a client of Vault Keepers, our team will reach out annually to remind you to keep your estate plan current with the completion of an entirely new Will, or simply adding a Codicil to your file. If you do not have a professional to assist you, our Attorneys by State blog can assist you locating an attorney near you.