AA Legal Documents

How to change your Will

Contents

Overview

A codicil gives you an opportunity to make minor alterations to your Will without the need to draft a completely new Will. It should be remembered that a codicil is an independent document in itself. If you subsequently cancel your Will, you might not cancel your codicil automatically.

If you wish to cancel changes made by way of a codicil, you must make it clear in making your new Will or prepare a new codicil if the changes are of a minor nature.

Codicils

A codicil is similar to a Will, but generally it is supplemental to a Will that has been previously made. The codicil is subject to the same formal requirements as the Will.

For all practical purposes, codicils are used to make straightforward additions or amendments to an existing Will. These include the change of an executor, a change to a specific gift or the addition of a beneficiary and any other minor alterations that may be required. Where it is necessary to make more fundamental changes to the Will, it is advisable to consider making a new Will.

A codicil can exist independently of any Will. If the testator cancels a Will, but does not cancel a codicil that was made subsequent to the Will, it may result in there being inconsistencies that should be avoided. For this reason, the revocation clause in a subsequent Will should express a clear intention to revoke all former Wills and testamentary dispositions (i.e. documents that are Wills or alter existing Wills (e.g. codicils) or are part of existing Wills).

Types of codicils

There are many different situations which can arise where you might want to make alterations to your Will using a codicil. Some of these are described below:

  • To appoint a substitute executor on death of executor
  • To make an additional gift to an existing beneficiary
  • When an executor no longer wishes to act as an executor
  • To cancel a gift made in your Will to a beneficiary