On codicils. First, congratulations on writing your will. In the fullness of time you might need to update your will. There are good reasons you might want to change your will.
You might have heard of codicils. It is a recognised means of changing a will. It is formally and correctly: ‘a document supplementary to a will which is executed with the same formalities under the Wills Act 1837’.
We simply don’t talk about it.
If you use a codicil, it must be done as if it were a new will. It involves the protocol and attention to the detail of the will. I fail to see how they make any sense. At face value, they appear quick and easy. The use of this supplementary document is born of the belief that changing a will is a difficult, complicated and expensive enterprise. Therefore, it might appear a promising idea. Appearances deceive.
Codicils, The Fraudsters’ Charter
The first rule of codicils is: ‘we don’t talk about codicils’. There is no merit to them. You must be certain the new document does not conflict with the original document. Most conflicts, however, are inadvertent – after all no one sets out to make a mess of his or her will. The second is that they are the fraudsters’ charter – in that the fraudster can create a codicil without going through the trouble of getting his hands on the original document.
The first rule of codicils, therefore, is that we don’t talk about codicils.
There is no need for them. My clients have no need for them. I eliminate the apparent need for and the temptation to use them. I update all wills free of charge.
They are legal, but they’re are unwise. Have nothing to do with them.
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