Adding A "Little Writing" To Your Will

25 July 2017
 Categories: , Blog

The need for a will is undisputed, and if you do not already have one or have not updated your will lately, don't put that task off any longer. You should also take a look at your will from time to time to ensure that it still covers everything you want it to cover. Any changes in your family, in your finances or business, or in your property should prompt a call to your estate attorney. You can expect to make several changes to your will over time, and when you do make a change, you might encounter an unfamiliar term used by your estate attorney. Read on for a better understanding of codicils.

What is a codicil?

This word is actually a Latin term which translates to "little codex" or little writing. When documents had to be painstakingly done with a feather quill and ink well, you could expect them to take some time to complete. If changes needed to be made to that document, such as corrections or additions, an alternative was needed to avoid having to totally re-do the entire document. A codicil was a means of adding a little piece of writing to the document, which naturally took a lot less time. Over time, this term has morphed to be used almost exclusively to describe changes to a person's last will and testament.

Codicils in wills.

It's interesting to note that the practice of adding codicils to a will is waning. People still need to update their wills, of course, but technology has presented alternative ways to make those changes that are even quicker and easier than adding a codicil. In most law offices, wills are created using computer software and are often stored on a disk as well as on a hard copy. When a client desires to make a change, the will can be accessed, and nearly anything contained in the will can be edited. For example, you may wish to add another personal representative (or executor) to your will, after deciding that the job would be best done by two people instead of one. In moments, your corrected will will be made available for your signature.


When you sign a will, it usually must be witnessed by at least two people (this varies by state). Often, your estate attorney will be one witness and another member of the legal team the other. By signing as witnesses, they are attesting that you are who you claim to be and that you are "of sound mind". It should be noted that codicils must also have two witnesses for the signing.

Talk to an attorney for more information.