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CODICIL TO LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ________________________

I, ________________________ (the 'Testator') of ______________________, , declare this to be my codicil (my 'Codicil') to my last will and testament being dated the 24th day of July, 2024 (my 'Last Will').

  1. Clause __________ of my Last Will will be modified as follows:

    The beneficiary of __________ will be changed from "________________________" to "________________________ of __________, ".

  2. I hereby confirm and republish my Last Will dated the 24th day of July, 2024 in all respects other than those mentioned here.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed my name on this the ________ day of ________________, ________, at __________, , declaring and publishing this instrument as my Codicil to Last Will, in the presence of the undersigned witnesses, who witnessed and subscribed this Codicil to Last Will at my request, and in my presence.


_____________________________
________________________ (Testator)

SIGNED AND DECLARED by ________________________ on the ________ day of ________________, ________ to be their Codicil to Last Will, in our presence, at __________, , who at their request, in their presence and in the presence of each other, all being present at the same time, have signed our names as witnesses.

__________________________
Witness #1 Signature
__________________________
Witness #1 Name (Please Print)
__________________________
Witness #1 Street Address
__________________________
Witness #1 City and Province/Territory

__________________________
Witness #2 Signature
__________________________
Witness #2 Name (Please Print)
__________________________
Witness #2 Street Address
__________________________
Witness #2 City and Province/Territory


AFFIDAVIT OF EXECUTION

CANADA



TO WIT:

I, ________________, of ____________, ____________, MAKE OATH AND SAY THAT:

  1. I was personally present and did see ________________________, who is known to me to be the person named in the attached Codicil ("the Instrument"), duly sign and execute the Instrument;
  2. The Instrument was signed at __________, ;
  3. I am the subscribing witness to the Instrument;
  4. ________________________ was personally present and did see me duly sign the Instrument; and
  5. I believe the person named in the instrument, whose signature I witnessed, ________________________, is at least the age of majority in .


SWORN BEFORE ME at _____________,  this ________ day of ________________, ________.

 


 ________________________
 Signature


________________________
A Commissioner for Oaths/Notary Public in and for the Province of
My Commission expires: ____________

 

 ________________________
 Name


AFFIDAVIT OF EXECUTION

CANADA



TO WIT:

I, ________________, of ____________, ____________, MAKE OATH AND SAY THAT:

  1. I was personally present and did see ________________________, who is known to me to be the person named in the attached Codicil ("the Instrument"), duly sign and execute the Instrument;
  2. The Instrument was signed at __________, ;
  3. I am the subscribing witness to the Instrument;
  4. ________________________ was personally present and did see me duly sign the Instrument; and
  5. I believe the person named in the instrument, whose signature I witnessed, ________________________, is at least the age of majority in .


SWORN BEFORE ME at _____________,  this ________ day of ________________, ________.

 


 ________________________
 Signature


________________________
A Commissioner for Oaths/Notary Public in and for the Province of
My Commission expires: ____________

 

 ________________________
 Name

Last Updated February 2, 2024

Written by


Reviewed by


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Fact checked by



What is a Codicil?

A Codicil is a legal document that amends your Last Will and Testament, helping you keep your estate plan up to date. With a Codicil, you can change, add, or remove clauses from your Will, so you don’t have to rewrite or execute an entirely new document.

After creating and signing your Codicil with the necessary witnesses, you attach it to your Last Will and store the amended document with the rest of your estate planning documents.

A Codicil is also known as an:

  • Addendum to Will
  • Amendment to Will

What changes can I make to my Will with a Codicil?

You can use a Codicil to make straightforward changes to your Will, including:

  • Changing the beneficiaries of your assets
  • Changing the guardian for your children
  • Changing your executor(s)
  • Updating the name of an executor, beneficiary, or guardian
  • Adding assets or gifts
  • Adding or removing specific bequests

Can a Codicil revoke a Will?

Although a Codicil can amend a Will, there are better approaches for revoking a Will. A Will is usually revoked by:

  • Creating a new Will
  • Creating a document of revocation
  • Getting married
  • Physically destroying the Will

Although you can physically destroy a Will to revoke it, it’s best to document the revocation in writing.

It’s important to remember that the laws related to Wills and Codicils can vary from one jurisdiction to another. For example, Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act dictates how a Will may be revoked within the province. To best understand how to revoke a Will, check the relevant law in your province or territory.

Who can use a Codicil?

Only the creator of a Last Will and Testament can use a Codicil. When you create a Last Will, you’re known as the testator or principal.

Even if you create a Power of Attorney and give your representative general authority, they cannot create a Codicil to make changes to your Will.

How do I write a Codicil to a Will?

The easiest way to write a Codicil is by using a template. With our template, you need to provide the following information:

  • The date you signed your Last Will and Testament
  • Your name, province, and city 
  • The amendments and the clauses they modify

When writing amendments, use clear, plain language. You should be straightforward, so nothing is left to interpretation. Also, if you're adding clauses, specify where in the Will they apply.

Are Codicils legally binding?

Yes, Codicils are legally binding documents, provided they meet the necessary legal requirements of the jurisdiction in which they’re executed.

For a Codicil to be legally binding, it typically needs to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Proper execution: You must execute a Codicil with the same formalities as a Will (i.e., it must be in writing, signed, and witnessed by two or more competent witnesses who are present at the same time).
  • Mental capacity: You must have the mental capacity to understand the nature and effect of the Codicil and the changes being made to your original Will.

Can a Codicil be contested?

Yes, someone can contest your Codicil if they believe you didn’t execute it properly or if they have legal grounds to challenge it.

Common challenges to proper execution include:

  • Insufficient mental capacity (e.g., someone believes you made the change while suffering from a cognitive disorder, such as dementia)
  • Undue influence or coercion (e.g., a third-party manipulated you into writing the Codicil or forged the document)
  • Missing information (e.g., the Codicil was not properly signed, dated, or witnessed)

In some jurisdictions, you must meet certain requirements to have the legal grounds to challenge a Will. Typically, successful challenges come from beneficiaries.

In any situation, the onus is on the challenger to prove their case to a court, and this can be a costly and lengthy legal battle.

Can you make multiple Codicils?

Yes, you can make multiple Codicils to your Last Will and Testament. 

There is generally no limit to the number of Codicils you can create, but it's essential to keep the process organized and clear to avoid any confusion or conflicts. 

If the changes you want to make are significant or numerous, it may be more appropriate to create a new Will that revokes all previous Wills and Codicils.

When to make a new Will instead of a Codicil

While Codicils can be a useful tool for making minor changes to your Will, it’s better to create a new Will for significant or complex changes.

You should consider writing a new Last Will if one of the following events occurs:

  • You get married or divorced
  • You’re unmarried but have a new partner
  • Your assets significantly change
  • You move to another province or territory
  • There is a birth or adoption of a child in your family

If you have already made several Codicils to your existing Will, creating yet another Codicil could make the document complex and difficult to interpret. In such cases, consolidating all changes into a new Will can provide a clearer and more organized representation of your wishes.

Can you cancel or revoke a Codicil?

Yes, a Codicil can be revoked, just like a Last Will and Testament. There are a few ways to revoke a codicil:

  • Create a new Codicil or Will: One of the most common ways to revoke a Codicil is by creating a new Codicil or a new Will that explicitly states the revocation of the previous Codicil.
  • Create a revocation document: In some jurisdictions, you can draft a separate revocation document that explicitly states your intention to revoke the Codicil.
  • Physically destroy the Codicil: If you want to revoke a Codicil without creating a new document, you can physically destroy it with the intention of revoking it. 

Although physical destruction is a possible way to revoke a Codicil, it’s best to document the revocation in writing.

Signing, witnessing, and notarizing a Codicil

Our Codicil template includes a section for a notarized Affidavit of Execution, but you have the choice to use this space or not. A Codicil and the changes it makes are still valid without the Affidavit of Execution.

In this section, two witnesses must sign your Codicil in the presence of a notary public. The notary also signs and provides their seal or stamp to acknowledge the Codicil’s proper execution.

An Affidavit of Execution reinforces that you want these changes and made them intentionally. It also helps protect against one of the witnesses having to go to probate court to testify that the codicil was properly signed, witnessed, and execute.

Even if you don’t notarize your Codicil, you need two witnesses’ signatures. Witnesses cannot be beneficiaries in your Will, nor can they be spouses of any beneficiaries.

Should I use a Codicil after divorce?

After a divorce, it's generally advisable to review and update your estate planning documents, including your Will, rather than relying on a Codicil.

Related Documents:

  • Last Will and Testament: Create a new Will to make extensive changes in the division and distribution of your property and assets after your death.
  • Power of Attorney: Give someone the legal authority to act on your behalf when managing your legal and financial affairs.
  • Health Care Directive: Specify your preferences for health care treatments should you no longer be able to make medical decisions for yourself. You can also appoint someone to make these decisions for you.
  • End-of-Life Plan: Outline your wishes for how you want your body laid to rest after your death and whether you want services in your name.
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