What is a Codicil?
A Codicil is a legal document that confirms any modifications or amendments to your last Will. In other words, a Codicil amends but does not replace an existing Will. There is also no limit on how many Codicils you can add to a Will.
Why do a Codicil instead of a new Will?
Instead of writing a new Will, it is better to do a Codicil if the alterations you are making are only minor, for instance, adding or removing your beneficiaries, specific gifts of money, or valuable items.
Also, if you are using a solicitor, adding a Codicil is usually more cost-effective than writing a new Will if you are only making minor changes.
In saying this, it is advisable to review your Will every five years. If you want to make significant or multiple changes to your Will, having a new one written is usually a better idea. This can include after getting married, separating or divorcing, having children, moving houses, or if the executor named in the Will dies.
Do I need a solicitor to add a Codicil to my Will?
No, you do not necessarily need a solicitor to add a Codicil to your Will. You can create one yourself, but seeking professional legal assistance to ensure the Codicil is valid is highly recommended. A poorly-drafted Codicil may lead the entire Will to be invalidated.
A solicitor can provide valuable guidance on the legal requirements for creating a Codicil and ensure that the Codicil is accurate and properly executed.
Is a Codicil legally binding in the UK?
Yes, a Codicil is legally binding in the UK. Under UK law, a Codicil is an integral part of the Will it modifies. So, as long as the Codicil meets the legal requirements for a valid Will, it will be legally binding in the UK.
What are the legal requirements for a Codicil?
To be valid, a Codicil must be signed and executed in the same way as a Will. It must:
- Be in writing (handwritten or typewritten) and unambiguous in its terms.
- Be signed and dated by the testator.
- Be witnessed and signed by at least two people present as the testator when they sign the document. They must be over 18, not be named in the Will, and not be a spouse or civil partner of someone named in the Will.
- Refer to the original Will that it is amending or supplementing to ensure that the Codicil reads in conjunction with the original Will. There should also be an acknowledgment that the Codicil should overrule anything stated in the original Will that it affects.
How Can GloverPriest Help?
At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like further advice on your Will, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form.