What is Codicil? How is it executed?

A codicil is a document that amends, rather than replaces, a previously executed will. Thus, it is an instrument which is made in relation to a will that explains alterations and additions to its disposition. This document is considered important as it is deemed to form part of the will. For instance, in situations a will has been made, the testator may still want to make some changes in the already drafted will.

However, for that he needs to do it through a codicil wherein he may even cancel the entire earlier will and make a fresh will. Also, he may incorporate the desired changes, or, he may alter only the relevant parts of the will suitably as well.

Thus, the scope of codicil is immense; for instance, it is very much a part of will; however, it is valid only if it is executed and attested in the same manner as a Will. From the various judgments from the Supreme Court it’s clear that Codicil is a supplementary document to the will and, cannot stand independently.

Also, any amendments made by a codicil may add or revoke small provisions that may include inter alia changing executors, completely change the majority, the gifts under the will.

How is Codicil executed?

Like will, each codicil also goes through the scrutiny regarding its execution. For instance, it must conform to the same legal requirements as the original will e.g. the codicil must have the signatures of the testator and, typically, two or three disinterested witnesses. Also, a codicil should be executed and attested like a Will as in all sense it is similar to a Will and is governed by the same rules as a Will.

Thus, though an Indian will is a static document, it can be changed through codicil over time as the circumstances in your life and your family change. Codicil basically states what items of your will you are changing. Interestingly, codicil should be kept together with Will. In situation you are making substantial changes to your will, codicil could be bad idea as it’s better to go for a new Will.

Also, as you can revoke your codicil there is no issue that you have made a codicil that is not suiting to the current situation and requirement. You just need to follow the process that you follow when writing down your Will. If you revoke your codicil, like will, it is assumed that you never had drafted a codicil at all.