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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Ashley

What is a Codicil? (And why I don’t recommend them)

We have written a lot over the years about the importance of having an estate plan review every 2-3 years. Doing so ensures that those documents (for example, your will) are up to date and include all your wishes. Often clients come in with previously established Wills and want to make a few changes to those documents. Sometimes clients are familiar with the term “Codicil” or they say they want to “Amend” their Last Will and Tes-tament.

So, what is a codicil? In simplified terms, a codicil is a supplementary document to your original Last Will and Testament.Sounds great right? Not so fast. I don’t recommend Codicils and here’s why:

Your original Last Will and Testament is an important document to keep up with. An original Codicil, or multiple Codicils, are equally as important to keep up with. Adding a Codicil to your estate plan increases the likelihood that the important originals could be lost along the way.

A Codicil is a separate document that refers back to your Will. For example a Codicil might say “I amend Article 1 Section 2 to read as follows”. This creates room for errors and confusion if the Codicil incorrectly states which provision of the original Will is being amended. Depending on the complexity of the Codicil the reader will have to spend time flipping back and forth from the original Will to the Codicil to figure out what the Testator wanted. In an estate plan you want your intentions to be very clear and eliminate this possibility of interpretation.

So why do Codicils exist?

Back in the day before computers and word processors when Wills were typed on typewriters a Codicil was a great time saving solution to make some changes to an estate plan. Now, with the ease and convenience of modern word processors drafting a new Will with all your current wishes is just as time effective as drafting a Codicil, without the pitfalls of a Codicil.

Call Caitlyn Ashley Law Today!!

Having a plan for the future is the most important gift you can give yourself and your family. Granted, none of us will ever know for sure what is around every corner in life. And just thinking about the what-ifs — what if I were to die or become incapacitated tomorrow; what if my child with special needs has no one to care for her; what if all my “stuff” isn’t passed onto the right people — can be overwhelming. But having a plan that accounts for your family’s unique circumstances, puts your affairs in order, has concrete solutions to your concerns, lays out your wishes and goals, and protects your family’s future provides peace of mind for the road ahead.

Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, Texas, will counsel you on which documents are best suited for your needs and ensure they are flexible enough to meet your changing needs for years to come.

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