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Last Will and Testament: The Problem With Codicils

Posted by William Pigg | Aug 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

When seeking to modify a provision of a will, people often add a codicil instead of drafting a new will.  Unless you're very careful, a codicil can actually nullify the very provision you want to change!

What is a Codicil?

A codicil is a legal document that allows you to modify an existing will without revoking it in its entirety.  However, it is not legally sufficient for you to handwrite a new provision on your existing will!
 
Under Texas law, codicils must meet the same legal requirements as an original will.  It must identify the date you executed the will you are seeking to modify.  It must specify what information in the existing will is being changed.  It must be notarized and witnessed by two people, and you must include a self-proving affidavit that attests to the validity of the existing will.  If your codicil does not meet these requirements, it may be invalidated by a court.  
 
If you plan on making significant changes to your existing will, we recommend drafting a new will that revokes all previous wills.  That way, there can be no confusion about your intentions.  
 
If you are considering making a change to your will, you should contact an attorney who has experience with wills, trusts, and estates.
 
And remember:  "If it isn't written down, it never happened."

About the Author

William Pigg

William A. “Bert” Pigg received his J.D. from Tulane University School of Law in 1995 and his B.A. summa cum laude from Fordham University in 1992. Licensed in Texas and Louisiana, Mr. Pigg practiced law with a firm in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina, after which he became a solo practitioner...

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