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Last Will Details

Last Will Details

Your Codicil

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CODICIL TO LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ________________________

I, ________________________ (the 'Testator') of ______________________, , declare this to be my codicil (my 'Codicil') to my last will and testament being dated 23 July 2024 (my 'Last Will').

  1. Clause __________ of my Last Will will be modified as follows:

    The beneficiary of __________ will be changed from "________________________" to "________________________ of __________, ".

  2. I hereby confirm and republish my Last Will dated 23 July 2024 in all respects other than those mentioned here.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed my name on this ________ day of ________________, ________, at __________, , declaring and publishing this instrument as my Codicil to Last Will, in the presence of the undersigned witnesses, who witnessed and subscribed this Codicil to Last Will at my request, and in my presence.

________________________ (Testator)

SIGNED AND DECLARED by ________________________ on this ________ day of ________________, ________ to be their Codicil to Last Will, in our presence, at __________, , who at their request, in their presence and in the presence of each other, all being present at the same time, have signed our names as witnesses.

Witness #1 Signature
Witness #1 Name (Please Print)
Witness #1 Street Address
Witness #1 City and State/Territory

Witness #2 Signature
Witness #2 Name (Please Print)
Witness #2 Street Address
Witness #2 City and State/Territory

Last Updated February 27, 2024

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What is a Codicil?

A Codicil is a legal document that amends your Last Will and Testament, helping you keep your estate plan up to date. With a Codicil, you can change, add, or remove clauses from your Will, so you don’t have to rewrite or execute an entirely new document.

After creating and signing your Codicil with the necessary witnesses, you attach it to your Last Will and store the amended document with the rest of your estate planning documents.

A Codicil is also known as an:

  • Addendum to Will
  • Amendment to Will

What changes can I make to my Will with a Codicil?

You can use a Codicil to make straightforward changes to your Will, including:

  • Changing the beneficiaries of your assets
  • Changing the guardian for your children
  • Changing your executor(s)
  • Updating the name of an executor, beneficiary, or guardian
  • Adding assets or gifts
  • Adding or removing specific bequests

Can a Codicil revoke a Will?

Although a Codicil can amend a Will, there are better approaches for revoking a Will.

For example, you can revoke your Will by:

  • Creating a new Will
  • Creating a document of revocation
  • Physically destroying the Will

Although you can physically destroy a Will to revoke it, it’s best to document the revocation in writing. To best understand how to revoke a Will, check the relevant law in your state or territory.

Who can use a Codicil?

Only the creator of a Last Will and Testament can use a Codicil. When you create a Last Will, you’re known as the testator or principal.

Even if you create a Power of Attorney and give your representative general authority, they cannot create a Codicil to make changes to your Will.

How do I write a Codicil to a Will?

The easiest way to write a Codicil is by using a template. With our template, you need to provide the following information:

  • The date you signed your Last Will and Testament
  • Your name, province, and city 
  • The amendments and the clauses they modify

When writing amendments, use clear, plain language. You should be straightforward, so nothing is left to interpretation. Also, if you're adding clauses, specify where in the Will they apply.

Are Codicils legally binding?

Yes, Codicils are legally binding documents, provided they meet the necessary legal requirements of the jurisdiction in which they’re executed.

The following legislation governs Last Will amendments in each state and territory:

State or territory Legislation
Australian Capital Territory Wills Act 1968
New South Wales Succession Act 2006
Northern Territory Wills Act 2000
Queensland Succession Act 1981
South Australia Wills Act 1936
Tasmania Wills Act 2008
Victoria Wills Act 1997
Western Australia Wills Act 1970

Can a Codicil be contested?

Yes, someone can contest your Codicil if they believe you didn’t execute it properly or if they have legal grounds to challenge it.

Common challenges to proper execution include:

  • Insufficient mental capacity (e.g., someone believes you made the change while suffering from a cognitive disorder, such as dementia)
  • Undue influence or coercion (e.g., a third-party manipulated you into writing the Codicil or forged the document)
  • Missing information (e.g., the Codicil was not properly signed, dated, or witnessed)

In any situation, the onus is on the challenger to prove their case to a court, and this can be a costly and lengthy legal battle.

Can you make multiple Codicils?

Yes, you can make multiple Codicils to your Last Will and Testament. 

There is generally no limit to the number of Codicils you can create, but it's essential to keep the process organised and clear to avoid any confusion or conflicts. 

If the changes you want to make are significant or numerous, it may be more appropriate to create a new Will that revokes all previous Wills and Codicils.

When to make a new Will instead of a Codicil

While Codicils can be a useful tool for making minor changes to your Will, it’s better to create a new Will for significant or complex changes.

For example, creating a new Will is often better if you wish to:

  • Change all your beneficiaries
  • Alter asset distribution significantly
  • Revise your estate plan entirely

If you have already made several Codicils to your existing Will, creating yet another Codicil could make the document complex and difficult to interpret. In such cases, consolidating all changes into a new Will can provide a clearer and more organised representation of your wishes.

Can you cancel or revoke a Codicil?

Yes, a Codicil can be revoked, just like a Last Will and Testament. There are a few ways to revoke a codicil:

  • Create a new Codicil or Will: One of the most common ways to revoke a Codicil is by creating a new Codicil or a new Will that explicitly states the revocation of the previous Codicil.
  • Create a revocation document: In some jurisdictions, you can draft a separate revocation document that explicitly states your intention to revoke the Codicil.
  • Physically destroy the Codicil: If you want to revoke a Codicil without creating a new document, you can physically destroy it with the intention of revoking it. 

Although physical destruction is a possible way to revoke a Codicil, it’s best to document the revocation in writing.

Do you need witnesses for a Codicil?

Yes, you need two witnesses’ signatures when signing a Codicil. Witnesses cannot be beneficiaries in your Will, nor can they be spouses of any beneficiaries.

Should I use a Codicil after divorce?

After a divorce, it's generally advisable to review and update your estate planning documents, including your Will, rather than relying on a Codicil.

Related documents

  • Last Will and Testament: Create a new Will to make extensive changes in the division and distribution of your property and assets after your death.
  • Power of Attorney: Give someone the legal authority to act on your behalf when managing your legal and financial affairs.
  • Revocation of Power of Attorney: Revoke an existing Power of Attorney.
  • Living Will: Specify your preferences for health care treatments should you no longer be able to make medical decisions for yourself. You can also appoint someone to make these decisions for you.
  • Gift Deed: Give away sentimental items or money to other people without compensation.
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