Codicil to Will
Q. Please explain what a codicil is and what it can and cannot accomplish.
A. A codicil is a testamentary document that can effectively add to, alter, delete, revoke or republish a will. Just as much care and consideration should be given to codicils as the original will. The codicil is most often used to refer to an addition to the will, a change in beneficiaries, or a change in the personal representative. The attorney preparing the codicil will generally have to review the existing will in order to do a proper job in preparing a codicil.
A list of the items usually included in a codicil are as follows:
- Name and residence (or city/county) of Testator;
- Acknowledgment and identification of the existing will and existing codicils, if any;
- Acknowledgment of codicil as “first” codicil, “second” codicil, etc.;
- Identification of page, paragraph, or line(s) in will that need to be changed;
- Specification or description of the modification of will or prior codicils, if any;
- Acknowledgment of revocation of prior codicils, if any;
- Signature of Testator;
- Proper witnessing;
- Notary (for self-proving wills).
Codicils, of course, have the same general requirements of a will in that they must be in writing, properly witnessed, and the testator of sound mind, capable of understanding the instrument he executed.
A common practice for those persons who have lived in another state is to have a codicil prepared, thereby republishing their existing will and changing their legal residence to Washington and having the codicil notarized (self-proving), so that out-of-state witnesses need not be involved in proving the will.