What is a Codicil to a Will?
A codicil is an additional document that can be used to make changes to a will. Read our guide to find out how and when a codicil can be used.
So, you’ve written a will to your children. But you want to add a gift to an existing name in the will and you don’t want to go through the legal process of writing an entirely new will. You’ve heard from word of mouth about a codicil document that can be used to amend changes in an existing will. This article will help you to understand what a codicil to a will is and how it can be used.
What is it?
A codicil to a will allows you to make minor adjustments to your will document. The creation of this particular document is more suitable for people who wish to make numerous small changes to their will over a long term. A codicil can be used to change your executor’s, appoint a new executor or trustee, add a specific gift to a person. But, if you intend to create more than 3 codicils, it is advised that you consult a lawyer to write a new will.
How can a Codicil to a Will be Legally Binding?
In order for this amending document to be legally valid, it must meet the formal legal requirements of a will. Subject to Section 14 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), a will can be altered if it meets the following requirements:
- If the signatures of the testator and witnesses to the alteration are in the margin or on some other part of the will
- If the signatures of the testator and witnesses are used as an authentication of a memorandum which explains the alteration on the will
- References the original will and the date it was made
In brief, this means that the codicil should be signed by the will maker and witnessed by two people. Following this, the codicil should be attached to the original will and sent to the appropriate court for processing.
What Issues can arise from Creating a Codicil to a Will?
Due to the ease in creating the document yourself, a codicil can be rejected on many different grounds. Some common issues to look out for when creating a codicil are:
- A codicil is rendered invalid because it is signed by individuals who have direct interest in the original will
- A codicil is contended in court due to the will maker’s age mental capabilities or suspicion of undue influence
Therefore, it is crucial that a qualified professional is consulted before the codicil is filed.
In conclusion, it is important to be aware of potential legal problems when choosing to create a codicil to a will. It is easy to fall into the trap of filing a document that can be done yourself but we recommend you to visit the Lawyer Marketplace to find the perfect lawyer to avoid potential court fees.
Cecilia is a final year law student completing her Practical Legal Training at Lawpath. She has an avid interest in intellectual property.