How to Update a Will: The Codicil

Last Will and Testament
Photo: Ken Mayer

A codicil is simply an addition or change to your current Will. You may choose to do a codicil because rewriting your will in its entirety can be time consuming and costly. The codicil is a simple, easy document that is helpful for simple changes, brought about by a death, a birth, a divorce, a move, or the addition of a bequest to a charity.

As a legal document, a codicil must adhere to the formalities of a regular Will. Many states have different stipulations for a valid codicil so be sure to check the requirements of your state. Any attorney can write a codicil for you; it does not have to be the person who prepared your original Will. Always be sure to sign, date, and make copies of the codicil and attach it to your original Will and all copies.

Example Codicil

CODICIL TO LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF (YOUR NAME)

I, (YOUR NAME), of (YOUR CITY), Texas, declare this to be my Codicil to my Last Will and Testament.

My Last Will and Testament is to be amended to add the following provision:

I bequeath the sum of $ (DOLLAR AMOUNT) to the Arlington Public Library Foundation, located in Arlington, Texas, to be used for general purposes.

Except as modified by this Codicil, I republish my Last Will and Testament.

I have signed this Codicil this (DAY)day of (MONTH), (YEAR).

Testator signature

In our presence, (NAME), Testator, declared this instrument to be the Codicil to his Last Will and Testament. At his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other subscribe our names as witnesses this (DAY) day of (MONTH), (YEAR).

Signature