There are only two ways to change a will: Write a new will or make a codicil. It is a common misconception that one can change one’s will by simply writing a note that you attach to a will. Such a note will be worthless.
What Is A Codicil?
A codicil is an amendment to a will. It does not replace the will, but, essentially, supplements the will. Usually, it will deal with one or two bequests in the will, and it leaves the will otherwise intact.
A codicil is only valid if it is signed with the same formalities as the will itself. That means in New York it must be signed at the end by the testator and witnessed by at least two disinterested persons. If it isn't properly executed, it's not a valid codicil; and if it's not a valid codicil, it is meaningless.
A codicil is almost never a good idea. For one thing, if it is ever separated from the will, chances are that it will be forgotten and the will will get probated without the codicil. Any time there is a codicil, it requires keeping track of two documents, rather than just the will. And keeping track of two documents creates much greater possibilities of something going wrong. The will can be probated without the codicil; the codicil possibly may not be probatable without the will. Unless one has an extremely complicated will (and very substantial assets to go along with that complicated will), a codicil should be considered a bad idea.
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