What is a Codicil?

Guide to making a codicil, which is a variation to a Will, together with templates for creating a codicil online

A 'codicil' lets you make amendments to your existing Will without the need to completely rewrite the original document. In a codicil you can specify small changes to any of the details in your original Will, for example add a new gift or remove (revoke) previous ones. You could also change your executor using a codicil.

It is important to note that a codicil does not replace your existing Will and is only valid when it refers to the Will it amends. The codicil will need to be witnessed and signed in the same way as your Will and you should make sure the two documents are always kept together.

The available range of codicils include:

Codicil appointing substitute executor on death of executorCodicil making an additional gift to an existing beneficiaryCodicil revoking a gift to a named beneficiaryCodicil revoking appointment of executor & appointing substituteCodicil revoking gift to one and giving to another

The situations where you should consider amending your Will by a codicil include divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, the death of a person named in the Will, a change in your assets (you buy a new property, for example) or a change in your family circumstances. However, if the changes are substantial, it may be more appropriate to write an entirely new Will.

The information on this page applies to England and Wales only.

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