Will is a legal document where a person specifies how their assets and properties are to be distributed following the event of their demise.
Wills are triggered only after the death of the testator and not during their lifetime.
It is usually registered with the district court’s Registrar to avoid any conflicts that may arise during the interpretation of the will. The final document is enforceable only if it bears the signature of the testator and two witnesses.
Often a situation or unique circumstance arises where a pre-existing will has to be modified. Generally, the changes may be an addition or removal of a name.
In such an event, there two possible procedures to legally implement the alterations –
- Frame a codicil in addition to the existing will.
A codicil is simply a legal document that introduced the changes to the original copy. The testator, along with two witnesses, must validate the amendments with their signatures. On the demise of the testator, the initial will and the codicil are read in tandem.
- Compiling a new will
While a codicil is advisable for minor legal changes, a complete restructuring of the will is better achieved by compiling a new will and voiding the previous one.
Lawyers are experts in compiling the relevant paperwork and taking the burden of legal jargon off your hands.
While you can write your codicil or will, any shortcomings in language or phrasing can make way for possible disputes and misinterpretations.
Moreover, sometimes wills are accompanied by multiple codicils. There must be consistency in the provisions stated in the documents; else, the judge will deem it invalid in the court of law.
In such an occasion, assets and properties pass on to the immediate next of kin.
A codicil must follow legal guidelines and should not be altered whimsically.
Family and Estate planning lawyers can assist you in framing legally binding documents and ensure your property is distributed as per your final wishes.