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Can I add a addendum to our existing wills without a lawyer.

Wilson, NC |

I want to assign fixed percentages to our children and grandchildren.

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Attorney answers 5


You can legally add a codicil or write a new will for that matter, but I would strongly advise against it. An attorney is trained to make sure that the document and provisions comply with the law and the court requirements. Failure to handle these documents properly can nullify your existing will. This is not something that you can correct, when years later, it's invalid, because, unfortunately, you are no longer here to correct the situation.


Not a good idea. There could be many reasons that a small error or omission would result in a document which would not meet the requisites for admission to probate. This is exactly the kind of thing which a lawyer ought to handle so as to ensure the codicil is exactly in compliance with the statutory requirements necessary for a valid will.

Not legal advice, just my two cents. I don't practice law in North Carolina or hold North Carolina licensure. Consult a lawyer licensed in North Carolina if you need legal advice.


I agree with Attorney David. However, you can do a valid codicil without an attorney if its done correctly. You must get the codicil executed with the same formality as a will, i.e., you must sign it and have it witnessed by 2 disinterested people who are not beneficiaries under the will/codicil and it should be notarized.

Wills and codicils are not all that expensive. I could probably draft one for you for a reasonable fee. Please contact me at if interested.


Not to be redundant, but I would also advise that you seek the advice of an attorney to make a codicil to your will. There are certain formalities that you have to follow to ensure that the condicil, and the actual will remain valid. Although you can do this yourself, it may be wortht he minimal fee that an attorney would charge to know that it was done correctly and will not present an issue in the future.


Yes, BUT--A codicil is a document that amends, rather than replaces, a previously executed will.[1] Amendments made by a codicil may add or revoke small provisions (e.g., changing executors), or may completely change the majority, or all, of the gifts under the will. Each codicil must conform to the same legal requirements as the original will, such as the signatures of the testator and, typically, two or three (depending on the jurisdiction) disinterested witnesses.
When confronted with testamentary writings executed after the date of the original will, a probate court may need to decipher whether the document is a codicil or a new will. As a rule of thumb, if the second document neither expressly revokes the prior will in its entirety nor supersedes it for all purposes by making a complete disposition of the testator’s property, it will be presumed to be a codicil, leaving the validity of the earlier will unchanged with respect to the property whose disposition the codicil does not address.
In some jurisdictions, acting as a witness to the execution of the codicil may invalidate a gift to a beneficiary under the original will. This rule extends such a jurisdiction's "disinterested-witnesses" requirement to those subsequent documents that might affect what a beneficiary receives from the probate process. For example, if a codicil revokes a bequest in a prior will or adds one not in the prior will, it thereby increases or decreases the value of the residuum of the estate, and it thereby affects any residuary beneficiaries' interest in the estate, such that a residuary beneficiary in a will is an interested party with respect to any codicil.
As an alternative to a codicil, a testator may modify an existing will by writing a new, dated will which revokes any previous wills and codicils. With the advent of word-processors this is now becoming recommended practice (as suggested by the international specialist body in this field, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) even for relatively minor changes to avoid the difficulties of interpretation which can arise from a chain of (possibly mutually inconsistent) codicils. Particular difficulties in interpreting chains of codicils arise in jurisdictions such as England and Wales which do not require wills or codicils to be dated (although this is common practice).
In completion of a codicil, a form must be created specifying the modifications to the existing last will and testament. As with a last will and testament, it is necessary to witness amendments to the will since they may override the relevant sections of the original will.

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