A codicil is a legal document that is used to amend a Will rather than replacing a previously executed Will. A codicil can add to, subtract from, or modify the terms of the original Will. It must be dated, signed and witnessed just as a Will would be and it should also make some reference to the part of the Will being amended.
Adding a Codicil to a Will is an easy way to make minor updates to your Will without starting over. The Codicil is a separate legal document from your Will, although it is best stored along with it. Adding a child as beneficiary, changing an executor or including a new asset can all be accomplished through a Codicil
Use the Codicil to Will document if:
• You want to change one or more provisions of your existing Will due to events such as a marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, a move to another province, a significant change in financial status, a change in tax laws, or the death of a beneficiary;
• You want to add or change beneficiaries;
• You want to add or change the nomination of any executor, trustee or guardian.
• You did not include Digital Assets in your existing Will but would like to address them now. Digital Assets can include any online accounts or files stored on a computer or server, such as email accounts, blogs, social-networking websites, and photo and document sharing websites. You can use the Codicil to Will to appoint a Digital Executor to handle your Digital Assets;
• You want to modify conditions or restrictions on the receipt of a bequest, such as the age at which a child can receive a bequest.
Requirements for the Codicil are:
1. it must have your name, the date and the location of the signing;
2. it should identify the Will which is going to be changed by this codicil;
3. It must be signed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries;
4. An attestation stating that you affirm the codicil, must be signed by you;
5. It must state that you affirm everything else in the will;
6. It should also include a version number of the codicil, if it is the first one or the second one.
It’s a good idea to use codicils only for very small changes, because they can make sorting out your Will more complicated when you die. It is a useful tool, but you have to use it properly for it to be effective.
The risk in using a Codicil improperly is that you’ll end up creating confusion either by contradicting a detail in the Will or by revoking a sentence you didn’t mean to revoke.
The other danger in using a Codicil is that it can become separated from the Will that it’s supposed to amend. If the Codicil becomes separated, the executor might not know about the changes that were supposed to be made.
There are three reasons why executing a new Will may be a preferable course of action:
1. A new Will avoid any danger of a codicil not adequately referring to the correct Will;
2. When only one document exists (i.e. the new Will) there is less likelihood of misinterpretation; and
3. If a codicil is used to revoke a gift made in the Will, the party who would have received the gift will be informed of the change made by the Will-maker, which could cause personal discord in the Will-maker’s relationship with that person.
An unattested alteration made after the Will is executed is invalid, and may also invalidate any existing part of the Will the alteration obliterated or made impossible to decipher.
Both the Will and the codicil require the signature of witnesses. Both are valid only if they are signed in front of two adult witnesses. A Codicil is cheaper than a Will but in some cases, it is easier and safer to redo the Will.
For more information please call us a call @ 604-503-3853