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What is a codicil?

When preparing a Will, there may be a handful of legal terms included, with which you are not familiar.  Your Will writer should, as a matter of practice, explain each one fully in turn, before reading your prepared Will back to you, breaking each declaration down and explaining it in plain English, so that you can be satisfied it represents your true wishes.

One of the terms which could be used is “codicil”.

Remember that although, as responsible adults, we have prepared a Will, our lives rarely remain stagnant.  New children and grandchildren may arrive in the family, divorces may unfortunately occur, and finances and relationships change.  All these could well affect the wishes laid out in your Will.

There is no excuse not to amend your Will to reflect these changes, however.  Indeed, it is vitally important that you do so, to avoid any future bad feeling, confusion and potential conflict.

There may be no need to go to the effort and expense of creating a new Will each time a relevant event occurs.  This is where a codicil is particularly useful.

A codicil is simply a document which indicates a slight alteration to your original Will.  It validates the original document and outlines the changes which should subsequently be made, even if you wish to change your beneficiaries or executor.  Care should be taken, however, to ensure that the legal standards set out by the original Will (with regards to the witnessing of the document for example) are mirrored exactly by the new codicil, for it to be considered truly valid.

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