Should you add a codicil or make a new Will if you need to update it? It is important to review your Will from time to time to ensure it still accurately reflects your wishes. It is recommended that this is done at least every five years as well as whenever there is a major life event, for example, if you marry or have a child.
If your Will needs amending, it may be possible to add a codicil or you might be better advised to have a new Will made. You should never write on a Will to amend it as this will not be legally binding and could potentially invalidate it.
Should you add a codicil or make a new Will if you need to update it?
Making a codicil
A codicil is a new and separate document that will be stored with your Will. It is generally only suitable for minor amendments, such as updating the address of someone mentioned in the Will. You are recommended to have the codicil prepared by a Wills expert to ensure that it does not contradict the provisions of the Will.
It will need to be signed and witnessed in the same way that a Will is and should be stored with your Will. It must not be physically attached to your Will however as this could invalidate it. It is possible to make more than one codicil.
Making a new Will
If you make a new Will, you have the opportunity to consider all of the provisions in your existing Will and decide whether you would like any changes to be made. In some circumstances it is essential to make a new Will, for example, if you get married. This is because marriage automatically invalidates a Will, unless it was specifically made in contemplation of the marriage.
It is also recommended that you consider making a new Will if you divorce or separate or if someone who has been named in your Will, such as an executor, a trustee, a guardian or a beneficiary, dies.
If you have a child, buy a home or inherit money, you may also want to make a new Will with different provisions in it.
Codicil or Will?
While a codicil can be simple to prepare, there are some drawbacks. If it is not found with your Will when the time comes, there is a risk that no-one will be aware of its existence and your estate would be administered in accordance with your Will and without the new provisions contained in the codicil.
If more than one codicil is added, it can start to make the estate administration more difficult and it may not be clear what your wishes were.
It is generally recommended that a new Will is prepared rather than a codicil added, unless the change is very minor. The new Will should state that it revokes all previous Wills. You will have the chance to go through all of the provisions you have made to ensure that they are what you want.
You should check that the executors and any trustees or guardians you have appointed are still willing and able to act and that you have the correct details for them and the beneficiaries you have chosen.
At Quinn Legal, one of our Wills experts can review your Will with you and discuss any changes you are thinking of making. Our team of specialists are friendly and approachable and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
We offer single Wills or mirror Wills and we can also advise you in respect of trusts and estate planning if necessary.
We have secure Will storage facilities for your Will if needed and we offer regular reviews and updates so that you can be assured that your arrangements are current.
Alternatively, you can fill out our online questionnaire and we will contact you.