Estate Planning Law Office of Attorney Joseph F. Pippen, Jr. & Associates
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Q.  Please explain what a codicil is and what it can and cannot accomplish.

A.  A codicil is a testamentary document that can effectively add to, alter, delete, revoke or republish a will.  Just as much care and consideration should be given to codicils as the original will. The codicil is most often used to refer to an addition to the will, a change in beneficiaries, or a change in the personal representative.  The attorney preparing the codicil will generally have to review the existing will in order to do a proper job in preparing a codicil.

A list of the items usually included in a codicil are as follows:

  1. Name and residence (or city/county) of Testator.
  2. Acknowledgment and identification of the existing will and existing codicils, if any.
  3. Acknowledgment of codicil as “first” codicil, “second” codicil, etc..
  4. Identification of page, paragraph, or line(s) in will that need to be changed.
  5. Specification or description of the modification of will or prior codicils, if any.
  6. Acknowledgment of revocation of prior codicils, if any.
  7. Signature of Testator.
  8. Proper witnessing.
  9. Notary (for self-proving wills).

Codicils, of course, have the same general requirements of a will in that they must be in writing, properly witnessed, and the testator of sound mind, capable of understanding the instrument he executed.

             A common practice for those persons who have lived in another state is to have a codicil prepared, thereby republishing their existing will and changing their legal residence to Florida and having the codicil notarized (self-proving), so that out-of-state witnesses need not be involved in proving the will.  For many persons, the cost of a simple will may be only $35 to $50, and a codicil may cost that much.  Therefore, it may be wise to have a new will prepared instead of a codicil.



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