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CODICIL TO LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ________________________

I, ________________________ (the 'Testator') of ______________________, Virginia, declare this to be my codicil (my 'Codicil') to my last will and testament being dated the 28th day of September, 2022 (my 'Last Will').

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

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

  2. I hereby confirm and republish my Last Will dated the 28th day of September, 2022 in all respects other than those mentioned here.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed my name on this the ________ day of ________________, ________, at __________, Virginia, 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 the ________ day of ________________, ________ to be his Codicil to Last Will, in our presence, at __________, Virginia, who at his request, in his 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/State

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

__________________________
Witness #3 Signature
__________________________
Witness #3 Name (Please Print)
__________________________
Witness #3 Street Address
__________________________
Witness #3 City/State


AFFIDAVIT

STATE OF VIRGINIA

COUNTY/CITY OF _____________________________

Before me, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared ________________________, ____________________, ____________________ and ____________________, known to me to be the Testator and the witnesses, respectively, whose names are signed to the attached or foregoing instrument and, all of these persons being by me first duly sworn, ________________________, the Testator, declared to me and to the witnesses in my presence that the instrument is the Codicil to Last Will of the Testator and that he had willingly signed or directed another to sign the same for him, and executed it in the presence of said witnesses as his free and voluntary act for the purposes therein expressed; that said witnesses stated before me that the foregoing Codicil to Last Will was executed and acknowledged by the Testator as his Codicil to Last Will in the presence of said witnesses who, in his presence and at his request, and in the presence of each other, did subscribe their names thereto as attesting witnesses on the day of the date of said Codicil to Last Will, and that the Testator, at the time of the execution of said Codicil to Last Will, was over the age of eighteen years and of sound and disposing mind and memory.


_____________________________
Testator


____________________________
Witness #1


____________________________
Witness #2


____________________________
Witness #3

Subscribed, sworn and acknowledged before me by ________________________, the Testator, and subscribed and sworn before me by ____________________, ____________________ and ____________________, witnesses, this _____ day of ____________________, A.D. 20_______.


SIGNED _____________________________

______________________________________
(OFFICIAL CAPACITY OF OFFICER)

Last Updated August 4, 2022

What is a Codicil?

A Codicil is a document that amends your Last Will and Testament, meaning you can use it to make changes to your existing Will. Codicils allow you to update, add, or remove provisions within your Will which helps keep your estate plan up to date.

After you create your Codicil and sign it with the necessary witnesses, you physically add or attach it to your Last Will and store your amended Will with the rest of your estate planning documents.

A Codicil is also known as an:

  • Addendum to Will
  • Amendment to Will

Who can use a Codicil?

Only a Last Will creator, known as the testator or principal, can use a Codicil. In other words, only you can use a Codicil to update your Will. Therefore, even if you create a Power of Attorney and give your attorney-in-fact certain powers, they cannot create a Codicil to make changes to your Will.

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

You can use a Codicil to make many different changes to your Will within reason. Some common things people change in their Last Wills using Codicils include:

  • Changing the beneficiaries of your estate, assets, or gifts
  • Changing the guardian for your children
  • Changing the executor of your Will
  • Updating an executor’s, beneficiary’s, or guardian’s name
  • Adding assets or gifts that you may have forgotten in your original Will
  • Adding new assets or gifts you acquired after creating your original Will
  • Adding or removing specific bequests

How do I write a Codicil to a Will?

To write a Codicil, you need to provide the following information:

  • Last Will information: Specify the date you signed your Last Will and Testament.
  • Your information: Provide your name, city, and state.
  • Amendments: List your amendments and the clauses they modify. If you're adding clauses, specify where in the Will they apply.

When writing amendments, use clear, plain language. You should be straightforward so nothing can be left to interpretation. By being clear with your words, you lessen the chance that someone will contest the Codicil.

Should I amend my Will with a Codicil or make a new Will?

Deciding to use a Codicil or start over with a new Last Will depends on multiple factors. First off, if you have used previous Codicils to change your Will, you may be more inclined to make an entirely new Will. Having too many Codicils can add confusion to your estate plan. If you are not careful, Codicils can contradict one another and complicate the probate process.

In addition, if you need to make numerous amendments to your Will, creating a new one may make more sense than executing a lengthy, complex Codicil.

Some life events may also require you to make a new Will rather than use a Codicil. Things change throughout your life and your Will should reflect that. You should consider writing a new Last Will if one of the following events occurs:

  • You get married or divorced (a change in marital status may void your old Will)
  • You are unmarried but have a new partner
  • Your finances, assets, or property change significantly (e.g., you buy or sell a home)
  • You move to another state (each state has unique estate planning laws that may impact how you can distribute your estate)
  • You have or adopt a child and wish to add them to your Will
  • There are changes to tax laws that affect the distribution of your estate
  • A beneficiary, guardian, or executor listed in your Will passes away

Lastly, if your existing Last Will is old and possibly outdated, creating a new Last Will may be the best choice. An old Will could contain outdated legal language and not accurately reflect your current circumstances.

Should I use a Codicil after I divorce?

If you and your spouse are divorcing, it is best to create a new Last Will rather than amend your existing one with a Codicil. Most states have laws stating that any gifts that you leave to them in your Will are automatically revoked once the divorce is finalized. Still, creating a new Will after your divorce is important so it reflects your most up-to-date wishes.

In these states, if you do not create a new Will after divorce and you pass away, any specific gifts your spouse would have inherited from your estate might pass to alternate beneficiaries. If the gifts do not have alternate beneficiaries, your residual beneficiary inherits them. If you do not have a residual beneficiary, the gifts will be distributed according to your state’s laws, similarly to if you died without a Will. To retain control of your estate, it is best to create a new Will.

Can I make multiple Codicils?

Yes, you can make multiple Codicils, as no laws prevent you from doing so. However, your goal should be to have a comprehensive Will that is easy to understand. Having too many Codicils can create confusion for your executor and beneficiaries. Instead of creating multiple Codicils, consider making a new Last Will.

How do I sign a Codicil?

To properly execute your Codicil, you must sign it in the presence of your chosen witnesses. Your witnesses should not be listed as beneficiaries in your Last Will.

It is best practice to initial at the bottom of each page, except the signing page of your Codicil, which requires your full signature. No text should appear on the last page after your signature, not including the witness signing area.

Most states only require you to have two witnesses. After you have signed and initialed your document in front of witnesses, your witnesses must initial each page and sign the final page of the Codicil. Their signing must occur in your presence. Your witnesses may have to appear before a court to verify that this process was completed and that you were of age and sound mind at the time.

Do Codicils have to be notarized?

Notarization requirements for Codicils differ from state to state. However, in most states, Codicils do not have to be notarized. The exception is Louisiana. In Louisiana, you must sign in the presence of a notary and two witnesses.

Even if it is not required, you can get your Codicil notarized online to ensure its validity is not questioned.

What about if I use a self-proving Affidavit with my Codicil?

Some states allow a self-proving Affidavit to be attached to your Codicil, which is signed by you and up to three witnesses under oath before a notary public. If applicable, we will include an Affidavit with your Codicil. The self-proving Affidavit allows you to waive the requirement for one or all of your witnesses to show up in court to acknowledge the proper execution of your Codicil.

You can sign the self-proving Affidavit at the same time as your Codicil or at a later date if you wish. It should be noted that whether or not you use the Affidavit does not affect the validity of your Codicil.

Can I add a Codicil to my Last Will without a lawyer?

Yes, you can create and execute a Codicil without a lawyer. With our template, you can make a Codicil to your Will by answering a few simple questions and printing or downloading it instantly.

Related documents:

  • Last Will and Testament: Specify how you want your assets and property distributed after you pass away and appoint a guardian for your minor children.
  • Living Will: Specify your health care preferences and appoint someone to make medical decisions for you should you ever become incapacitated.
  • Power of Attorney: Appoint someone to make your financial, real estate, or business decisions should you become incapacitated or are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
  • Revocable Living Trust: Place assets in a trust so they can skip probate and be distributed according to your specific wishes after you pass away.
  • End-of-Life Plan: Set out your wishes for your remains and any memorial or funeral services, as well as the distribution of assets when you pass away.
  • Gift Deed: Give away sentimental items or money to other people without compensation.
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