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Need help with a Codicil?
A codicil is your answer to a rapid, cost-effective change to your final wishes. Rather than rewrite your entire will, you can attach signed, notarized codicils that communicate your intent to the court, personal representative, and family members.
The laws surrounding codicils vary according to the laws of your state. Ensure that your codicils are compliant so that your survivors do not have to handle an additional dispute in the wake of your death. They will have enough on their plate at that time.
Instead of leaving your will unmaintained, use codicils to make changes. Everything you need to know about codicils is described in the article below.
What is a Codicil?
Codicils are addendums to your last will and testament. They allow you to amend specific provisions while leaving the main purpose of the document in place. For instance, if you want to name another heir, you may want to codicil your will.
People who have a will in place, also known as testators, generally amend them for the following reasons:
- Bequeathments are no longer available
- Changes regarding bequeathment airs
- Adding a new estate plan beneficiary
- Removing heirs that have died
- Increasing cash gift values to adjust for inflation
You need to rewrite your will if you anticipate significant changes to the structure or intent of the document. Your estate planning lawyers can help you determine which approach is best for your situation. If you do not need to rewrite your will, they will not recommend you do so.
Here’s an article about codicils.
Purpose of a Codicil
The purpose of a codicil allows testators to make changes to their living wills , living trust , and more without having to change the main provisions. Consequentially, legally protected individuals leverage the power of a codicil to help them effectively manage their estate plans.
Benefits of a codicil include:
- Ease of application
- Make changes quickly
- Legally compliant
- Denotes a maintained estate
- Creates a paper trail
All legal documents, like codicils, are designed with a specific purpose in mind. Your codicil’s main function is to change your will without having to do a rewrite. It is a simple option that provides numerous benefits when used correctly.
This article also discusses codicils.
How Codicil’s Work
Due to their relative ease, codicils are a popular option when updating a will. Instead of redrafting your entire estate plan, you can utilize codicils to make smaller, incremental changes. Codicils are generally cheaper than the former option as well.
Here’s how the process of using a codicil works:
- Step 1 . Determine which provisions you would like to change
- Step 2 . Write down the changes you would like to make
- Step 3 . Meet with estate planning attorneys
- Step 4 . Review their proposed codicil to your will
- Step 5 . Accept the changes by signing and dating the document
- Step 6 . Keep it in a safe location with your other estate planning documents
- Step 7 . Take all legal documents with you when you make changes
Depending upon where you live, you may need to enlist the help of two (2) signature witnesses. Some law firms can handle this aspect for you as well as arrange for a public notary, but testators generally prefer to use witnesses with whom they are familiar. It is sometimes a matter of legal personal preference or convenience.
Learn more about codicils here .
When Does a Codicil Make Sense?
A codicil makes sense when it is easier to codicil your will rather than create a new one. Generally, the first will that a person draft is not going to be their last since financial and legal situations change over time. Codicils give you the option to change your living will or last will and testament without going through the painstaking effort you took initially.
Reasons to codicil your will include:
- Reason 1 . Naming new heirs
- Reason 2 . Bequeathing new property
- Reason 3 . Changes that don’t conflict with the original document
- Reason 4 . Correcting erroneous information
- Reason 5 . Add a new section
Reasons to not codicil your will include:
- Reason 1 . Disinheriting a family member
- Reason 2 . Adding a spouse or beneficiary
- Reason 3 . Too many existing codicils
- Reason 4 . Making a significant change to the entire will
- Reason 5 . Removing a section
The bottom line is that a codicil makes sense as long as it serves the legal intent of adding one. Time is essential when it comes to estate planning documents. Sometimes, a codicil works well when you need to make changes before a looming event.
Here’s another article about codicils.
Can I Write a Codicil Myself?
While you are allowed to write a codicil yourself, it’s better to work with an estate planning lawyer. They will ensure that you do not make legal mistakes and that the codicil is compliant with the local, county, state, and federal laws. Estate planning lawyers can also help you determine if you need to make other changes to accomplish your legal objectives.
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Get Help with a Codicil
Get help with a codicil by hiring an estate planning attorney. While downloading a boilerplate template may seem like a cost-effective solution, there is nothing further from the truth. Online templates are recycled from other people’s wills and may contain provisions that are illegal in your area, thereby annulling the purpose of the codicil.
Benefits of Estate Planning Lawyers
Estate planning lawyers can play a helpful role in drafting your codicils. They essentially help you avoid making legal mistakes while creating a durable, enforceable document. Keep in mind that your codicil is only as strong as the language contained within, which means that you will want to get it right the first time around.
Consider the following benefits of hiring estate planning lawyers:
- Benefit 1. Update your document as necessary
- Benefit 2. Utilize legal documents such as a living trust to avoid probate
- Benefit 3. Guarantee that your documents are free from error
- Benefit 4. Ensures you communicate your intended purpose
- Benefit 5. Receive legal advice according to your specific situation
- Benefit 6. Personalized documents that serve an explicit goal
- Benefit 7. Works with your family in case they need probate or estate help
- Benefit 8. Represents you if a legal dispute arises
- Benefit 9. Looks out for your rights and interests throughout the process
As you can see, estate planning lawyers provide a premium service when it comes to your legal documents. When you hire a legal professional to draft your codicils, you will have reassurance in knowing that your family will not have to face any additional legal hurdle upon your passing. Your codicils are your opportunity to keep things current without wasting any time.
Cost of Estate Planning Lawyers
Codicils are fairly inexpensive to draft when compared to lengthier legal documents. However, the cost of creating a codicil ultimately depends upon the complexity of the addition. By design, a codicil is not meant to be complicated, which works out in your favor as a testator.
Who to Contact for Codicil Help
Estate planning attorneys add tremendous value to the process. Their services extend far beyond expectation in every situation. If you have questions about trust, will, or codicil, you should speak with a law firm to learn more about your options.
Meet some of our Codicil Lawyers
G'day, my name is Michele! I work with startups, entrepreneurs and small/medium-sized businesses across the country in a wide array of industries. I help them with all of their ongoing, daily legal needs. This includes entity formation, M&A, contract drafting and review, employment, asset sale & acquisition, and business sales or shareholder exits. I'm half-Australian, half-Italian, and I've lived the last 20+ years of my life in America. I've lived all over the USA, completing high school in the deep south, graduating cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis, and then cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center. After law school I worked for the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins, LLP. After four intense and rewarding years there, I left to become General Counsel and VP of an incredible, industry-changing start-up called Urban Mining Company (UMC) that manufactures rare earth permanent magnets. I now work for Phocus Law where I help run our practice focused on entrepreneurs, startups, and SMEs. I love what I do, and I'd love to be of help! My focus is on providing stress-free, enjoyable, and high-quality legal service to all of my clients. Being a good lawyer isn't enough: the client experience should also be great. But work isn't everything, and I love my free time. I've been an avid traveler since my parents put me on a plane to Italy at 9-months old. I'm also a music nut, and am still looking for that perfect client that will engage me to explain why Dark Side Of The Moon is the greatest album of all time. Having grown up in a remote, and gorgeous corner of Australia, I feel a strong connection to nature, and love being in the elements.
Attorney Greg Corbin is the founder and principal of Signal Law in Denver, Colorado. A top-rated trial and transactional lawyer with more than seven years of total legal experience, Mr. Corbin provides exceptional counsel and support to clients across the greater Denver metro and surrounding areas who have legal needs involving any of the following: business and corporate law; contracts and agreements; incorporations, partnerships and other entity formation and dissolution services; and ongoing business counsel for emerging and expanding commercial enterprises. Utilizing the latest in cost-saving technologies and advanced automation, Mr. Corbin has established his practice as a modern law firm ready for the future, and he strives to provide the highest level of representation to his clients and help them achieve their goals and the favorable outcomes they seek as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. He has gained a reputation for his innovative solutions as well as his transparent pricing structure and responsiveness when dealing with his clients. In recognition of his outstanding professionalism and service, Mr. Corbin has earned consistent top rankings and endorsements from his peers as being among the top lawyers in his region for business law and transactions. A 2008 graduate of Kansas State University, Mr. Corbin obtained his Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law in 2013. The Massachusetts Bar Association admitted him to practice that same year, and the Colorado State Bar Association admitted him in 2015. Mr. Corbin is an active member of the Denver Bar Association and the Colorado State Bar Association, among his other professional affiliations, and he supports his local community through his involvement with Project Worthmore and Biking for Baseball, where he serves on the boards of directors.
Startup Lawyer that caters to the entrepreneurial spirit. Focusing on building long term relationships and working with emerging startups throughout their entire life cycle. From concept to IPO, I'll will help guide you along the way. Years of high level experience drafting, negotiating, and reviewing all types of transactional contracts, e.g., operating agreements, charters, bylaws, NDAs, Terms of Service, Master Service Agreements, etc. You name it; it's crossed my desk. Have a depth of experience working with the USPTO to file trademarks, copyrights, and patents. If you're in the startup space and need a helping hand, I'm your guy.
The Law Office of David Watson, LLC provides comprehensive and individualized estate-planning services for all stages and phases of life. I listen to your goals and priorities and offer a range of estate-planning services, including trusts, wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney, and other plans to meet your goals. And for convenience and transparency, many estate-planning services are provided at a flat rate.
My career interests are to practice Transactional Corporate Law, including Business Start Up, and Mergers and Acquisitions, as well as Real Estate Law, Estate Planning Law, and Intellectual Property Law. I am currently licensed in Arizona and Pennsylvania, after having moved to Phoenix in September 2019. I am currently General Counsel for a bioengineering company. I handle everything from their Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Placement Memorandums, and Articles of Amendment to Intellectual Property Assignments, to Employment Law and Beach of Contract settlements. I have 4 years experience handling commercial breach of contract cases working with Burton Neil & Associates, P.C. I have experience with Intellectual Property infringement after having worked for Ryley Carlock & Applewhite. I have also recently gained experience with Estate Planning law, drafting numerous Estate Planning documents for people such as Wills, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Directives, and Trusts. I am looking to further gain legal experience in these fields of law as well as expand my legal experience assisting business start ups, mergers and acquisitions and also trademark registration and licensing.
Atilla Z. Baksay is a Colorado-based attorney practicing transactional and corporate law as well as securities regulation. Atilla represents clients in the negotiation and drafting of transactional (e.g. master service, purchase and sale, license, IP, and SaaS agreements) and corporate (e.g. restricted stock transfers, stock options plans, convertible notes/SAFE/SAFT agreements, bylaws/operating agreements, loan agreements, personal guarantees, and security agreements) contracts, in-house documents (e.g. employment policies, separation agreements, employment/independent contractor/consultant agreements, NDAs, brokerage relationship policies, and office policy memoranda), and digital policies (e.g. terms of service, privacy policies, CCPA notices, and GDPR notices). Atilla also reviews, and issues legal opinions concerning, the security status of digital currencies and assets. Following law school, Atilla practiced international trade law at the Executive Office of the President, Office of the United States Trade Representative, where his practice spanned economic sanctions enacted against goods originating in the People’s Republic of China valued at $500 billion. Afterwards, Atilla joined a Colorado law firm practicing civil litigation, where the majority of his practice comprised of construction defect suits. Today, Atilla's practice spans all corporate matters for clients in Colorado and the District of Columbia.
After graduating from The University of Chicago Law School in 2002, Clara spent eight years in private practice representing clients in complex commercial real estate, merger and acquisition, branding, and other transactional matters. Clara then worked as in-house counsel to a large financial services company, handling intellectual property, vendor contracts, technology, privacy, cybersecurity, licensing, marketing, and otherwise supporting general operations. She opened her own practice in September of 2017 and represents hedge funds, financial services companies, and technology companies in a range of transactional matters.