Wills and Codicils

As the last will and testament is the foundation of one’s estate planning, from time to time, one would need to revisit the will in light of changes to significant events in one’s life, after all, the point of estate planning is to leave the things in one’s life to the people in one’s life in the most cost efficient and hassle free manner.  All be books and all the guides and all the courts prescribe the codicil as the manner in which this alteration should be effected.

Writing a Codicil

Anyone who has written a will would be acquainted with the process of effecting a codicil. Simply outline the clause you wish to alter and get your signatures witnessed as did on your main will.  In short it involves as much effort as writing a will.

Codicils – we disapprove of them

Here’s why, if you note above, it takes almost as much effort as to write a will in the first place – it is just as well to start all over again – this creates clarity with the will writing process – there ends up one document, there is no scope for mischief, fraud or loss.

If you examine your current will document, it is very likely has binding that is virtually tamper proof, as appending any thing to the will is likely to call its validity into question, writing a codicil would  create several documents, creating scope for administrative palaver.

Codicils have been used in the past by third parties to pull a fast on the legitimate beneficiaries of the will without going to the bother of locating and destroying the original will.

In sum, codicils, while legal, and are acceptable to the probate court, are not to be recommended because they expose the estate and its intended beneficiaries to hardship.

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