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Should I Create a Will Codicil or a New Will?

A “codicil” is a fancy name for a document that updates your last will and testament. Depending on the situation, it may be better for you to create a codicil to your existing will as opposed to creating a completely new will, while at other times the reverse is true. Note that the standard language in a will automatically revokes any prior wills. This means that you don’t have to worry about old wills interfering should you decide to execute a new one. If you’ve decided you need to make a change to your will, the following factors will help guide you.


When to Use a Codicil

Use a codicil:

  • for making small changes to your will, such as changing a beneficiary of a gift, adding a provision for the support of your pets after you die, or specifying your burial wishes;
  • to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of creating a new will (an attorney may refuse to draft a codicil to a will that they didn’t draft in the first place. Therefore, you’ll be forced to pay for them to create a new will unless you create the codicil yourself);
  • if you need to make a change based on the people named in your will, including if someone named in the will dies, you have a child, or you get remarried; and/or
  • when you acquire new property that you wish to give away to a specific person or entity. The same applies if you have sold or lost property you specifically left to someone in your will and now you wish to give him or her something different.

When to Create a New Will

Creating a new will is better if you want to make an important or comprehensive change to the structure of your will, or the impact of your changes would be unclear if you only used a will codicil. For instance, you would want to create a new will in order to add a trust to your will if the will originally didn’t have any trusts. This kind of change would impact so many other provisions in the will that it would be simpler to just create a new will.

Create a new will:

  • if you have many changes you would like to make throughout the will (generally more than 10 or so) to make sure everything stays clear and consistent; and/or
  • if you have had a large change in your assets, such as receiving a large inheritance, acquiring significant real estate, or winning big in the stock market.

If you do decide to create a new will, make sure that it revokes all prior wills. You should also destroy all copies of your old will and inform your executor (the personal representative you named in the will) of the location where your new will is being stored.


How LegalNature Can Help You with Your Legal Form Needs

LegalNature can help you with all of your personal legal form needs. Let us help you get started today. Click here to create your codicil now.

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