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Wills and Codicils

A codicil is a document, a mini-will, which works alongside your existing will. It refers to your original will, and makes one or more amendments. Codicils were previously used regularly to make minor amendments, and people often made two or more codicils. That was in days when the reproduction of a will was a major exercise (and it was). A codicil must follow all the same formalities of a full will, and they necessarily introduce complications and risks. What is to happen if, for example, the codicil is lost or becomes separated from the will. Several codicils together can often become confusing.

On deciding to change your will, should you update your entire will, or only add a codicil? We will try to persuade you to make an entire new will. Not because it costs more, but for the reasons we describe below. Where the changes you need to make are only minor, and your will is recent, it can sometimes simpler to amend your will with a codicil. Where the changes you need to make are significant, or the law or your circumstances have moved on since the original will, it becomes obviously better to update your entire will.

Where some time has passed since your original will, it is usually much better to re-draw the entire will. This allows us to make the changes you want, and to include at the same time any changes in the wordings we use in wills which reflect changes in the law since your first will. We make regular changes to our standard forms and clauses, incorporating simplifications and improvements.

Codicils are not significantly cheaper to prepare than entire wills, because of our use of computers. Wills used to cost so much to prepare as documents, that it made sense to avoid making a new one if possible. This is no longer the case.

We will normally charge £60.00 (including VAT) for one codicil, or £90.00 where partners incorporate similar changes in similar wills (please check these figures again when you instruct us).

These charges are 'base charges', because we will sometimes have to charge more. This can happen, for example, where the update becomes more complicated, for example where it becomes a completely new format, or requires more detailed consideration of the applicability of taxation, then we might have to charge you more. Please do make this clear if this would be of concern to you.

Please note that these figures remain valid for three months after you contact us and confirm them, but are otherwise subject to alteration.

Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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18 October 2013 32 18 October 2013