By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

A codicil is an amendment or addendum to a legal document such as a will. Be very careful using a codicil. In most cases its cheaper and simpler to just sign a new will. Long ago when wills were manually typed by a secretary on a typewriter if a change had to be made you would not want to risk a typographical error or incur the cost of revising the entire will. Now, if the prior will is on a computer there is little effort to bring up the old will document, change the date, make the modification you want, and reprint the will for signature. If you sign a codicil the original will and the new codicil need to be used. What if there are inconsistencies? What if you reduce the bequest to your brother Joe, should he see the original bequest in the will and the lower bequest in the codicil? When should you use a codicil? When there may be an issue of competency and you may not wish to risk replacing the old will. Review the decision with an estate attorney before making a decision.

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