Understanding The Four Main Parts Of A Codicil


If you wish to update your will, then you can either write a new will or add a separate amendment to the first one. This second option is suitable if your updates aren't too extensive. For example, you can use a codicil to remove a beneficiary or designate a new guardian for your minor children. A good codicil is one with at least these four sections:


The title of your codicil will not differ much from your original title's will. In fact, you just append the words "Codicil to the" before the original title. For example, if the original title is "Last Will and Testament of Jane Doe", then the title of the codicil becomes "Codicil to the Last Will and Testament of Jane Doe."  This is just to point at the will that the update is aimed at.

Introductory Paragraph

After the title comes the opening paragraph. There is no specific wording for this section. It should just convey the main ideas, which are

  • The declaration that you are of sound mind
  • The declaration that this is a codicil to your last will and testament
  • The date of execution of the last will and testament you are updating

The Updates

This is the main section; it contains all the changes you are making to your will. In this section, you identify the paragraph you wish to change and then follow it with the new paragraph. Do this for every paragraph you wish to amend in case you are updating multiple sections of your will.

Apart from updates, you can also use this section to delete or come up with new paragraphs. Just identify the paragraph you wish to remove and write a statement to that effect, or state that you are adding a new paragraph and put down the words.


You conclude the codicil by declaring that, in the contradictory paragraphs, the codicil updates supersede the declarations contained in your original will and testament. It's also necessary to state that the unchanged sections of your last will and testament still stand. Your lawyer (or the legal service you are using) may give you specific wording for this section. Lastly, you, the testator, witnesses, and notary public sign the codicil, and you are done.

This is the general format of a codicil, although there is no standard form that you need to follow or fill. The more changes you include in a codicil, the higher the chances that it may be contradictory and lead to will challenges. Therefore, just create a new will if you have several updates to make. A lawyer like those at Harold Salant Strassfield & Spielberg can guide you through the process.


29 July 2015

changing a child's last name after a divorce

When I began the divorce process, I knew that I wanted to change my name back to my maiden name. I no longer wanted to be associated with the family name of the man that I was divorcing. The problem was, I have three kids that all had their father's name. I wanted to know if I would be able to change their last names to my maiden name rather than having them carry that family's name for the rest of their lives. I found out a lot about what it would take and began working to create this blog to help other women wanting to do the same thing.