Codicil is a written document altering, amending, explaining, revoking, or adding to a previously executed will of a testator. A codicil is used to reflect some important amendments to a will during the lifetime of the testator. It is like an addendum to a will, will modification, or amendment to a will and it takes effect after the death of the testator. The principal essence of a codicil is to make some simple amendments. A codicil cannot be used to overhaul a previous will and it cannot be used as a replacement to an existing will.
The followings are the nature of a codicil:
- The testator must have made a previous valid will.
- The codicil must amend, remove or add to the previous will.
- It must be executed and attested a valid will.
- Codicil is always for a simple amendment.
- Codicil does not invalidate the entire will.
Read Also: GENERAL APPROACH TO WILLS IN NIGERIA.
Here are the common reasons why codicil can be made:
- Change of Executor: Executor is the person appointed by the testator in his previous will to oversee the distribution of his estate as provided in the will. Executor has the duty to ensure that the dictates of the testator are followed to the letters. However, it is possible that the executor dies before the testator or fell out with the testator during his lifetime. The testator will be required to make a codicil with the aim of appointing another person as his executor.
- Appointment of Guardian: The testator might gave birth to a new baby or acquire a new pet after he has made his will, it is important to appoint someone to be responsible for their wellbeing after his demise.
- Mistakes: Wills must be simple, plain and understandable. Common slips like mistakes in spelling or grammatical errors that are capable of several meanings or bring unnecessary confusion can be avoided with codicil.
- New Assets: The testators might acquire some shares, new assets or businesses after they have made their last will. A codicil can be used to express the thoughts of the testator for how they should be shared or managed after his demise.
The principal reason why people write will before their death is to ensure that their asset is not mismanaged or subject of litigation after their death. Will and codicil is set to help achieve it. However, it is advisable to make one or two codicil to a will. Codicil should not be used for serious amendment or overhauling of a will. It is better to draft a new will and avoid ambiguity.
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