Trusted Southern Ohio Attorneys

What happens if a codicil is added to an existing will?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | Estate Planning

In Ohio, it is a good idea for a person to have a will to ensure they are fully prepared for the future. This is true for older people, but it is also imperative for those who might not believe it is urgent to create even a basic estate plan.

Those who are relatively young and still in their 20s, 30s and 40s need an estate plan, particularly if they have children, are just starting a business and need to protect their assets and loved ones. Updating a will is also important. This is where people need to understand technical terms like a codicil.

What is a codicil and what does it do?

A codicil is a modification or an addition to a will that has already been written and executed. In Ohio, once a will has been deemed valid, it can be modified or revoked under the law.

For example, if a person was married at the time they created the will and got divorced, they might want to remove the former spouse or alter what they will receive when the testator dies. The same is true for any family or life event. A codicil can accomplish this.

Just as a person needs to have witnesses and the will to be notarized to be valid, the same is true for a codicil. The person making the changes also needs to be competent to do so. If a person adds a codicil when they are ill or on their deathbed, this could likely be challenged for its validity because of questions as to whether they were sufficiently competent at the time to know what they were doing.

Know the importance of an updated and valid will

Even people who know how vital an estate plan is can forget to add a codicil when it is necessary to do so. This can stoke confusion and lead to many problems for those who are named in the will. Creating a will is designed to have certainty. Part of that is knowing how to write a codicil and make sure it is legally binding.