What is a Codicil?
It is a document that amends, but does not replace, an existing will.
When is a Codicil appropriate?
They are usually used to make minor alterations to a will, for instance, by adding or removing gifts of money or specific gifts of items, such as jewellery.
When is a Codicil not appropriate?
If you wish to make multiple changes to a Will, it would be much clearer to make a new Will, as Codicils can cause confusion. In addition, you must bear in mind that the Codicil and Will would be interpreted together, meaning if you removed a beneficiary (for example) from your Will via a Codicil, they would be able to see they were once included in the original Will.
What are the perceived benefits of a Codicil?
They are usually a cheaper option to making a new Will, owing to the fact the change is likely to be very minor, meaning less time is involved in the drafting process.
What are the disadvantages?
There is the danger that a Codicil could be missed unless it is stored with the Will. The executors may find their job to be a lot simpler if the deceased’s wishes are set out in one document, especially if there is any ambiguity or inconsistency between the Will and the Codicil.
Do the same rules apply to Codicils as they do to Wills?
Yes, to be legally valid, a Codicil has to be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Will. Therefore, using a solicitor is advisable when making a Codicil to ensure the strict formalities are adhered to.