What is a Codicil?

Nearly all of us know what a Will is, but how many of us know what a Codicil is?

A Codicil is a document that can be used to make an alteration to a Will. The same formalities that apply to Wills, apply to Codicils so for example, the document must be signed and witnessed in the same way.

A Codicil is supplemental to a Will and therefore you could think of it as an “add-on”. An alteration could be changing the Executors named in a Will, giving an additional money gift to an individual or revoking a clause in a Will. If, for example, you appointed two Executors in your Will and one of them later died, you may wish to make a Codicil to appoint a replacement Executor. If you included a gift to your friend in your Will of £10,000 but then wanted to increase this to £15,000, you could make a Codicil in order to effect your wishes. Towards the end of the Codicil there will usually be a clause confirming that in all other respects, the contents of the Will are confirmed.

There are in fact no limits to how many Codicils an individual can make, but if you wish to make more substantial changes to your Will, then making a new Will may be most suited to your needs.

At Emery Johnson Astills, we often deal with probate matters where there is a Codicil. When the estate is distributed, the Will and Codicil are read together. Codicils are often much shorter than Wills as they are used to make alterations to Wills and are therefore likely to contain fewer clauses.

We have an experienced Wills and Probate team at Emery Johnson Astills that can assist you with making a Will or Codicil. Emery Johnson Astills can also assist you with applying for a Grant of Representation and administrating an estate in accordance with the terms of a Will (and Codicil if there is one). If you would like advice from one of our solicitors, please contact us on 0116 255 4855.