Codicils
Codicils

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Codicils
  • Meaning of codicil
  • Formalities
  • Construction and effect in general
  • Confirmation of Will by codicil
  • Revival by codicil
  • Revocation by codicil
  • Reasons for a codicil
  • Finance Act 2006
  • Transferable nil rate band
  • More...

Codicils may be used for making any alteration in a Will such as to alter the executors or make changes in legacies, whether by addition or deletion but that is by no means their only use. As a general rule, substantial changes are best achieved by means of a new Will and codicils are more appropriately used for the purposes of making slight alterations, eg a change of executors or an additional legacy. However, even a slight alteration by codicil can cause confusion, eg in Re Morris.

There is an element of danger in making a codicil and, as Megarry J stated in Re Lawrence's Will Trusts in relation to the use of the words 'as if' in a codicil:

'In truth, "as if" clauses are perilous devices: it is a rare draftsman who can foresee all the possible consequences of a relentless application of the hypothetical state of affairs that he is bringing into being.'

Given that those words are often used in codicils, care must be taken and a new Will first considered. As Megarry J was obliquely referring to, a change to one part of the Will can render other parts in need of change, so a review of the original Will in the light of that stricture may dictate that a new Will is required. However, in cases of urgency a codicil may

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