There are a number of reasons for adding a codicil to an existing will. KAKE.com’s recent article entitled “Using a Codicil to Modify a Will” says it’s good to know when you might need one and how to add it. A will codicil is a way to change the terms of an existing will. A will codicil allows you to modify a term in your will, without the need to rewrite the whole will. A codicil is used in cases where you only need to make relatively minor changes.
There are different situations that might require a codicil to be added to your will. Here are some examples:
- You want to add or remove an heir
- You’ve acquired or disposed of property you need to update in your will
- You need to change the executor of your will
- You want to change the person designated as a legal guardian for your minor children
- You recently were married or divorced and need to change how your assets or property will be distributed; or
- You want to make changes to how your assets and property will be divided for other reasons.
Adding a codicil to a will make certain that the will is current, as you go through different life events or if your financial circumstances change. This can help eliminate the chance that your will may be challenged after you die, because those named as beneficiaries disagree with the will’s terms. It can also help to avoid lengthy delays in probate associated with property you no longer own or property you haven’t addressed in the will.
Remember that a will codicil allows you to change your last will and testament. However, revoking a will terminates it completely. Ask an experienced Florida estate planning attorney about the laws for revoking a will in Florida. Some states let you simply physically destroy the will, and in others, you may need to draft a written declaration stating that your will has been revoked or draft a new replacement. Florida law allows a person to revoke their will by either written instructions, or by physical act. For revocation by writing, the document must be a subsequent Will, codicil, or other writing executed with the same formalities required for the original Will
If you need to make substantial changes to the terms of your will, then revoking it and creating a new will may be the better plan. A new will in place can avoid confusion during probate, if there are conflicting terms. You may also need to write a new will, if all copies of your existing will are unintentionally lost or destroyed.
Drafting a will codicil, is like writing a will itself. The will codicil needs to follow the legal guidelines established in your state. Ask an experienced estate planning attorney for help.
If you would like to discuss your options with an estate planning attorney in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, or Naples, Florida, schedule a complimentary call with Edward J. Welch at Welch Law, PLLC.
Reference: KAKE.com (June 17, 2020) “Using a Codicil to Modify a Will”