What Is A Will Codicil

A Will Codicil is document that is designed to amend a testator’s Last Will and Testament and can be a good idea to include a codicil in your estate plan. Much like an amendment to a contract, a will codicil can be used to make changes to the provisions of a testator’s last will and testament.  For example, if a testator is wishes to change the person they have selected as Personal Representative, or beneficiary of the estate, or in instance where the testator wishes to change the property that a beneficiary receives as a gift under the terms of the will.

Despite the simplicity of using a will codicil to amend a testator’s last will and testament, there are a number of situations when a testator should consider executing a new last will and testament rather than relying on a codicil to amend the terms of their last will and testament. For example, if a last will and testament has already been amended with a codicil, executing a new last will and testament can avoid a lot of the confusion that may arise from multiple codicils to the same will. Likewise, if extensive modifications are necessary like the creation of a testamentary trust, or the addition of a pour over mechanism for living trust the preparation of a new will may be more appropriate rather than rely on a codicil to an existing will. Great care should be used in deciding whether to rely on a codicil to a will or if a new will and testament should be prepared.

Requirements For A Will Codicil

Maryland Law:

Under Maryland law, a will codicil must be executed with the same formalities as a last will and testament. Specifically, the codicil must be in writing, that the testator have capacity and must be witnessed by two witnesses. It’s important to point out, that if a will codicil is not properly executed in accordance with Maryland law; the probate court may deem the codicil invalid. If this happens, the modifications/amendments that the codicil sought to make may be denied and the original terms of the last will and testament may be what is admitted to probate.

District of Columbia Law:

Likewise, Under District of Columbia law, a will codicil must be executed with the same formalities, as District of Columbia law requires for the execution of a last will and testament. Specifically, the codicil must be in writing, that the testator have capacity and must be witnessed by two witnesses. It’s important to point out, that if a codicil to a will is not properly executed in accordance with District of Columbia law; the probate court may deem the codicil invalid. If this happens, the modifications/amendments that the codicil sought to make may be denied and the original terms of the last will and testament may be what is admitted to probate. Thus, what is before the probate court might not actually reflect what the testator wanted.

For more information regarding will codicil or to schedule an estate planning consultation, please contact Antonoplos & Associates at 202-803-5676 or ClientRelations@Antonlegal.com.