Will a Codicil Suffice?

When you have a will, it’s crucial to keep it up to date and current. And if you have undergone changes that can affect your beneficiaries, you should review your will and consider making an amendment. Depending on the complexity of the changes, you may be able to draft a codicil instead of an entirely new will. A codicil is a legal document that issues a minor amendment to your will and can be beneficial in certain circumstances. But knowing which one is the better choice may not always be clear-cut.  Here we explore whether you should consider a codicil when looking to make a small revision to your will.

When to use a Codicil vs. a Will

Codicils are best used when there is a small and inconsequential change that you need to make to your will. For instance, you need to adjust the distribution amount of some of your monies to a beneficiary, a name change of a beneficiary, or new instructions for your burial, a codicil will suffice. However, if the changes will directly affect the beneficiaries or include a large change in assets, a new will would be a better option.

Benefits of a Codicil

Drafting a codicil is usually a financial preference. It can be much more cost-effective than drafting an entirely new will.

Risks Involved

If not edited properly, you could accidentally remove important information affecting your overall will or result in contradictory sections. You also risk the chance that the codicil may become separated from the original will, and as no one is aware of its existence, the changes won’t be considered. In some cases, if there was more than one codicil, the changes may not be properly understood.  This is especially true if one of the documents is missing.

Procedures for Drafting

The procedure for creating a codicil involves following the same signing formalities as when you created your original will. This process will involve signing in the presence of witnesses and a notary. This ensures if there is a dispute over anything involved in the will, there will be someone who was present to explain what the deceased person intended when drafting and signing it.

The laws that surround the validity of codicils can be challenging to mitigate. If you’re unsure if a codicil is right for you, contacting a reputable firm to help you navigate the laws and procedures can help you make the best choices for you and your beneficiaries.


To learn more about estate planning, book an appointment with The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd.