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What You Need to Know about Codicils

October 2021

Life is always changing and, naturally, our lifestyle choices and priorities will change as well. If you have written a Will and your circumstances change, you can easily update your Will to reflect your wishes by adding a Codicil.

The government recommends that you should review your Will every five years and after any major life event (eg. After getting married, divorced, moving house or having a child) to ensure that it reflects your current priorities. If you have already made a Will and it has been signed and witnessed, it cannot be edited, but you can add a Codicil.

What is a Codicil?

A Codicil is a legally-binding document that allows you to change anything in your Will, however it is best used for only small amendments. Adding a Codicil allows you to update your Will without re-writing it entirely. However, it is important to ensure that your final Will (and any Codicils) reads accurately and clearly. For example, if you have a Will with multiple Codicils that express differing requests, this could become confusing and ambiguous for the executors and lead to problems with probate and asset distribution.

How Does a Codicil Differ from a Will?

Codicils must be signed and witnessed like a Will, however adding a Codicil can be more cost-effective and less time-consuming than writing a new Will. Furthermore, once a Codicil has been made, it is advisable to keep it stored with your Will to ensure that it doesn’t get lost. If your Codicil is lost, any bequests you made in it may not be able to be executed.

If you would like to find out more about writing a Will or Codicil, please get in touch with our Private Wealth & Succession Planning team for further information.