Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Understand a Codicil to a Will


A codicil to a will is a part of a will that is added after the original version was drafted. Codicils are often added to change, correct or update a will without changing the entire document. It is important to understand a codicil to be sure that the intentions of the will are carried out.


Difficulty: Challenging

Things You'll Need

  • Estate planning attorney
  • Copy of the original will and codicil



Step One

Make an appointment with an estate planning attorney in your area. This should be the same attorney that drafted the will and codicil if at all possible.

Step Two

Read the original will with the attorney to get a broad understanding of the intentions of the will.

Step Three

Go over the codicil to see how it changes or amends the original document.

Step Four

Make sure that the codicil has been signed the same way as the original will. The codicil will identify the will by referring to the date the original document was written.

Step Five

Ask any questions you may have concerning the codicil. Provide any information you can to the attorney about changes in family situations that may have warranted the need for a codicil.

Step Six

Find out how the codicil will effect how the executor of the estate will carry out the wishes of the will.

Step Seven

Inquire what your next step should be if there are other questions, or if you feel the codicil does not reflect the wishes of the person who signed the original will.

Tips & Warnings

  • Understand that a will is a legal document and the wishes of the individual must be carried out even if you don't agree with the will or codicil.

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