DIY: Codicils

Every adult should maintain a written will, a legally binding document that explains how your property should be managed in the event of your death. The executor of your will is the person you assign to carry out that task. There may be times in your life when you need to change your will. After a divorce, for instance, you may want to remove your ex-spouse as executor of your will. For small changes, a codicil will suffice, which is essentially an amendment to your will that invalidates certain parts of the original.

Look at a sample codicil, or purchase one from a website that sells legal documents online. A purchased template will help ensure the codicil holds up in court. Consider the language used in a sample codicil if you plan to write your own.

State your name, date, address and the purpose of the document you are writing. Providing this material shows you were competent and clear of mind when drafting the codicil.

Refer to the section of your original will that you are changing. Be specific. Provide the original paragraph's order in the will and the sentence's order in the paragraph. For instance, "the third sentence of the second paragraph." Declare that you'd like to revoke that section.

Write down the change you'd like to make. If you removed an executor from your will, for instance, appoint a new executor.

Go to a notary official when the codicil is complete. Bring two witnesses. In the presence of the notary official, sign and date the codicil. Have your two witnesses do the same. Have the document notarised. Notary officials generally work in courthouses, government offices and banks.

Store the codicil with the original will in a safe location.

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About the Author

Charles Hayward has been writing professionally since 2010, covering local government, schools and the occasional sporting event. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College, where his multidisciplinary studies included coursework in the social sciences and humanities.

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