I have recently obtained another asset that I would like to add to my will. Is there a form for this without making out a new will?


First of all, let's define "Codicil" - its an amendment or modification of your will. You sign a will and later want to make a change. Instead of signing a whole new will, you just sign a short modification. The Codicil refers to your prior will and says that it will continue to be effective except for the change made in the codicil. Sounds like a cheap and efficient way to modify a will, but not often so! Why? Because a codicil means that there are two legal documents to interpret, the original will and the codicil. That can raise inconsistencies and problems. In the old days when lawyers prepared wills on manual typewriters, a codicil made a lot of sense. But with word processing and computers, its really easier and cheaper to prepare a new will by just modifying the old will. Further, it avoids any interpretive issues between the two documents. So, unless there is a specific reason to use a codicil, you're probably better off with a new will (e.g., your competency is in question, your attorney might recommend a codicil so as not to revoke the prior will).

Next issue, you don't "add" assets to your will. In fact no assets are added to your will ever. When you die, assets you own are transferred to your estate. This is different than if you had a trust, in which case you would add or transfer ("fund" in legal terminology) assets to your trust.

Finally, if your will is well written you generally should not have to amend it to address a new asset unless that new asset constitutes a substantial change in your overall financial picture.

Sounds like you really need to consult with an estate planning specialist in your area. There may more significant issues with your will and your estate plan that need to be addressed.

Our Consumer Webcasts and Blogs

Subscribe to our email list to receive information on consumer webcasts and blogs, for practical legal information in simple English, delivered to your inbox. For more professional driven information, please visit Shenkman Law to subscribe.

Ad Space