The First Rule of Codicils

All very knowing something as a principle.

It’s a happening of another magnitude to experience that something first hand. Then there’s a ‘like a face of an old friend in a crowd’ sensation when one re-lives a long held principle. It’s that feeling when a long-ago experience comes back to shake one by the hand.

I was welcomed with warmth and grace at my first appointment of this year. This couple were the embodiment of one of the several joys of my vocation. Merely to regard it as a profession would be tiresome.

In the papers before us was a codicil, but there was no sight of the original document to which the codicil referred. To skip to the end, it was a case of all’s well that ends well. We cast their documents anew, so no harm was done.

I bang on from one month to the next about the evil of codicils, then it snuck up on me, tapped me on the shoulder to re-introduce itself.

Back to first principles: codicils are technically a correct device for changing the provisions of a will. With this like with all cases, I’m yet to see a good reason for a codicil.

I was asked: ‘what if the original will can’t be found, would the codicil override the old will?’. As often, the answer is: ‘it depends’. Often, as in this case, the loss of the will would lead to partial intestacy. The codicil only addresses certain parts of the estate. For the parts of the estate not addressed by the codicil, the testator would have passes away intestate.

The first rule of fight club?  We don’t talk of fight club. The first rule of codicils is that we don’t talk of codicils.

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