A codicil is a document used to change or supplement the terms of an existing will. Although estate planning lawyers usually advise clients to keep codicils with the original will, it is important to realize that codicils in Naperville are separate legal documents.

To be valid, a codicil must be properly executed. When creating codicils, it is a good idea to consult an experienced attorney to ensure that the document not only meets legal requirements but also does not contradict the terms of a will in a way not intended by the testator.

When to Consider Creating a Codicil

Circumstances in life change, yet people in Naperville often tend to ignore the effect these changes could have on their estate plan. A carefully drafted will should allow for certain changes, but it is wise to consider amending a will through codicils in Naperville or other methods if the following situations occur:

  • The desire to name a different executor of an estate
  • The need to create a new plan for distributing assets
  • The desire to establish a new guardian for minor children
  • The birth of children or grandchildren (if after-born children are not provided for in the original will)
  • The demise of a guardian, executor, or beneficiaries (unless satisfactory alternates were named in the original will)

An attorney could review an existing will to determine whether a codicil is necessary and if so, how to word the document.

Requirements for Creating Codicils in Naperville

Although a codicil does not completely replace a will, since it is a separate document, it is necessary to fulfill legal requirements to create a valid codicil. First, the codicil must be signed by the testator who created the original will and there must be two credible witnesses present at the time. Second, the witnesses must also sign at the time the testator signs the codicil.

Third, codicils in Naperville are only valid if the testator and the witnesses are at least 18 years old and considered to be of “sound mind.” To be credible, a witness ideally should not be a beneficiary of the will. If a beneficiary witnesses a will, the gift to that beneficiary may be voided.

Alternatives to Codicils

Because state law allows someone to handwrite a will so long as it is executed properly in front of witnesses, many people in Naperville assume that the person creating a will could make changes by writing on the will. While it is possible to revoke a will in this manner, the appropriate way to make changes is through a codicil.

However, thanks to the ease of word processing, codicils in Naperville are not used as often as they once were. It is a simple matter now to create a new will incorporating the intended changes. Creating a new will could ensure that the changes are not ignored as they might be if a codicil is lost or not recognized by the court.

Assistance with Codicils in Naperville

Codicils could serve as a valuable tool to update provisions in a will. However, to avoid conflict or ambiguity, it may be preferable to create a new will rather than to use codicils in Naperville to revise an older will.

To ensure that your wishes will be followed, if you want to make changes to your will through the use of a codicil or creation of a new will, it is wise to consult an estate planning lawyer. An experienced attorney could not only ensure that legal requirements are followed but could also help you review your circumstances to determine whether additional changes might be appropriate and whether proposed terms will meet your goals in the most efficient manner.