Would it be best to use a codicil for the small change or re-write the entire Will?

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Would it be best to use a codicil for the small change or re-write the entire Will?

My father has a valid Will in NY state and wanted to make one small change. The will is only 3 pages long very straightforward.

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As you seem to be aware, you can update an existing Will by using codicil. Although a codicil can be useful in some circumstances, such as when only a small change to a recent Will; it is sometimes advisable to simply begin with new Will to avoid the confusion that complicated codicils can cause.  The general rule is that codicils are useful for any small, inconsequential changes to an exisitng Will.  For example, a name change of one of the beneficiaries, replacing the person named as executor, or additional instructions for burial. For any other changes your father may want to execute a new Will to be safe. 

 

 

However you did not indicate how old the Will is. If some period of time as passed since it was executed, say 5 or more yeras  or if there has been a substantial change in life circumstances and/or finances your father should seriously consider drafting a new Will (versus executing a codicil).

Note:  A codicil requires specific phrasing and must follow the same execution (signing) rules as a Will under applicable state law.  


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