Codicil Information Page
A Codicil to a Will is used in situations where the Testator (the creator of the Will) wants to make a certain change to his/her Last Will and Testament. Typically, this may occur after a life-changing event, such as a new beneficiary, death of a beneficiary, or when the Testator desires to change the executor, trustee or guardian who is named in their Will, or to add digital asset or modify a provision or restriction in the Will. However, if the Testator wants to make substantial changes or numerous changes, then it may be best to simply prepare a new Will in order to avoid the possibility of confusion. In addition, if there is a marriage, then it is best to create a new Will due to the fact that in many states a Last Will and Testament made prior to a marriage become null and void once the Testator gets married.
Codicils must be executed in accordance with state laws, similar to those required for a Last Will and Testament. This includes the presence of witnesses, a notary and/or use of a Self-Proving Affidavit. Once executed, the Codicil is then attached to the Will and is made a part of the Will.
In order to properly sign your Codicil, first you must ensure that you understand the document before signing. Once you understand the document and it properly reflects your wishes, in order to properly execute your Codicil, you will have to be with your witnesses and show/identify to them your Codicil to your Will. The Testator (you) will then initial each page at the bottom in the presence of your Witnesses. Then the Testator will sign the Codicil on the signature line in the presence of the witnesses. When you sign your Codicil, use your official signature- the same one that you use when you sign a check. This signing and initialing of the pages by the Testator must occur in the presence of your witnesses.
Once the Testator has initialed and signed the Codicil, the witnesses will do the same in the presence of the Testator. The witnesses must then initial each of the pages next to the Testator’s initials, and then they must sign and fill out the information on the signing page, acknowledging that they have witnessed the signing of the Codicil by the Testator.
The persons who are picked as witnesses must be competent adults, at least 18 years of age and should not be a beneficiary to the Testator’s Will or your Codicil. They should also not be the spouses of anyone who is a beneficiary under the Will or Codicil. The witnesses are acknowledging watching the Testator execute his/her Codicil and that the Testator was of age and of sound mind at the time of the signing.
Most states require two (2) witnesses, in Vermont three (3) witnesses are required. In Colorado the witnesses must sign in front of a Notary. In Louisiana the Testator must sign the Codicil in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public. The Testator must sign at the end and also on each page, instead of initialing. Once signed by the Testator, in the presence of the Testator the notary and witnesses must sign a declaration stating that the document is the Codicil of the Testators, and it was executed properly.
However, for further information on signature requirements, and any state specific information you can also search for your state’s specific laws and requirements or speak with an attorney.
It is also a good idea to attach a Self-Proving Affidavit to your Codicil. A Self-Proving Affidavit can be found on the website under estate planning section.