In a number of cases, individuals desire to change a first will due to a variety circumstances that can significantly change conditions for the individual including the birth of children, disagreements with relatives, divorce, and marriage. In these situations, codicils can be of great importance. While many individuals have heard of codicils, few individuals understand exactly what codicils are. A codicil is a supplement to a will that adds or deletes conditions to an original will. It should be noted that the same requirements that apply to a will also apply codicil.
The Advantage of Codicils
Individuals who are interested in using a codicil should begin by asking what types of changes to the last will and testament that the codicil is intended to reflect. In cases of minor issues, codicils are a particularly wise idea to implement for estate planning. Small changes including facts, figures, personal representative names, and other revisions that do not significantly change how a will are the types of changes that can be successfully covered by codicils. Another instance where a codicil is useful are situations where the mental competency of the individual who created the will is in doubt. A codicil can limit the potential repercussions if the will creator is later determined to have been incompetent. Individuals should also be careful to only use one and at most two different codicils because too many codicils can create the possibility of confusion or uncertainty during the probate process. If an individual wishes to make significant changes to a will, however, it is often a better idea to draft a new will rather than a codicil.
Oklahoma Law Regarding Codicils
Codicils in Oklahoma are required to meet the same criteria for validity as wills. In order for a codicil to be deemed valid, the codicil must be in writing, signed by the person executing the codicil or in the executor’s name by another person while in the presence of the executor, and must be signed by at least two witnesses who watched the signing of the codicil. A codicil that is validly executed also operates as a republication of the individual’s will and incorporates the two documents together even if the will contains errors. If a codicil is not executed correctly, the codicil might be deemed invalid and the provisions in the original last will and testament may remain in effect. As a result, an ineffective codicil can result in the terms of the last will and testament retaining power rather than individual’s most up to date wishes or details. Because it is particularly important that codicils be effective, an estate planning attorney is often essential to make sure that a codicil is properly written.
Obtain the Services of a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
The creation of a will, a codicil, or other estate planning devices can be a much less complicated process with the assistance of a skilled Oklahoma City estate planning attorney like Jim A. Lyon at the Jim A. Lyon Law Firm. Attorney Lyon has been able to help many clients navigate the process of establishing and if necessary altering estate planning devices. If you need assistance in estate planning, do not hesitate to contact the Jim A. Lyon Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation.