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Codicil to Will basics

A Codicil to Will is an easy way for you to make a few changes to your existing Will. If you've experienced a life change such as a new beneficiary, a change in marital status, or you've gained an asset, it's a good time to change your Will.


Use the Codicil to Will document if:

  • A life-changing event makes it necessary to change your Will.
  • You have new beneficiaries such as a grandchild or new spouse.
  • You need to change your executor, trustee or guardian.
  • You want to add an executor to manage your digital assets.
  • You need to modify conditions or restrictions on the receipt of a bequest.
  • You want to add a pet provision.

Changing your Last Will and Testament is simple using Rocket Lawyer. The Codicil form only takes a few minutes to complete and can be made legal by adding three valid witness signatures.


Other names for Codicil to Will:

Amendment to Will


What is a Codicil to Will?

A Codicil to Will is simply an amendment to your existing Will. Codicils are often used if someone wants to make a minor change to their Will in reaction to a life change such as new children in the family, a change in marital status or the death of a spouse, the sale of a business, the buying of property, or the addition of a beloved pet. Some people add a Codicil to appoint an executor to their digital assets (hard drives, social media, email accounts).


Information needed to make a Codicil to a Will

If you only need to make a few changes to your Will, you can easily use this form to change or add provisions to your Last Will and Testament. Since many people with older existing Wills may not have included an executor for digital assets and pet provisions, we offer those with this form as well. It will help if you have a copy of the existing Will to make the changes correctly.

To complete the Will Amendment, you simply need to fill in the following information:

  • Your name (the person the Will is for)
  • Date of signing
  • Name of Codicil (such as First or Second)
  • Whether you want to delete a provision, delete and substitute a deletion or to add a new provision
  • List which provisions will be added or changed
  • Name of an executor to manage digital assets, if desired
  • How you want your pets cared for, if applicable
  • Names of the two or three witnesses

If you want to leave extensive instructions for how your pets will be cared for and funds for supporting your pets, you may also choose to create a Pet Trust.


Do Codicils to Wills have to be notarized?

A Codicil does not need to be notarized to be legal, but it does need to be witnessed. At the minimum, you'll need two witnesses. Ideally, you'll have three witnesses in case one is discredited if your Will and associated Codicils are challenged. Witnesses must be adults and of sound mind to qualify as viable witnesses. As an additional protection, you can add an Affidavit that states that the signee saw you sign the amendment to your Will. Witnesses also attest that you appeared to be of sound mind when you signed and that you were not under duress. Make sure you and your lawyer have copies of the changes to your Will.


Do I need a lawyer to change my Will?

If you only need to make a few changes, you can make the Codicil on your own and have your witnesses sign it as required to make it valid. If you do not feel confident making your own Codicil you can ask a lawyer for assistance.


Is a handwritten Codicil legal?

Often handwritten Codicils are legal if they are entirely handwritten (often called holographic) by the Will maker. The changes could be challenged if someone else wrote the changes and the Will maker just signed it. Or if it is typed and merely signed without a witness. If you are changing your Will, it would be best if you use a vetted document like ours and include the signatures of three witnesses. If handwritten codicils of a loved one or business partner have been discovered, it may be left up to the courts to decide if the changes are valid.


Codicil vs. new Will

If you only have a few changes to make to your Will, a Codicil will work well for you. However, if you have a lot of changes or numerous Codicils to your Will already, it may be easier to just change your Will. If you created your Will using Rocket Lawyer, you can simply access it from your account, alter it and have witnesses sign it, just like you did the first time. If you have questions about changing your Will you can ask an estate planning lawyer to help you decide whether a Codicil or a new Will is most suitable. If you do make a new Will make sure you have copies for those that need them and that your lawyer, executor and relevant family members know that you changed your Will.

If you need other types of Estate Planning Documents, we offer numerous options including those for making Living Wills, appointing Power of Attorneys, and those for creating Living Trusts.



Sample Codicil to Will

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Codicil to Will basics

Changing your Last Will and Testament is simple using Rocket Lawyer. The Codicil form only takes a few minutes to complete and can be made legal by adding three valid witness signatures.


Other names for Codicil to Will:

Amendment to Will


What is a Codicil to Will?

A Codicil to Will is simply an amendment to your existing Will. Codicils are often used if someone wants to make a minor change to their Will in reaction to a life change such as new children in the family, a change in marital status or the death of a spouse, the sale of a business, the buying of property, or the addition of a beloved pet. Some people add a Codicil to appoint an executor to their digital assets (hard drives, social media, email accounts).


Information needed to make a Codicil to a Will

If you only need to make a few changes to your Will, you can easily use this form to change or add provisions to your Last Will and Testament. Since many people with older existing Wills may not have included an executor for digital assets and pet provisions, we offer those with this form as well. It will help if you have a copy of the existing Will to make the changes correctly.

To complete the Will Amendment, you simply need to fill in the following information:

  • Your name (the person the Will is for)
  • Date of signing
  • Name of Codicil (such as First or Second)
  • Whether you want to delete a provision, delete and substitute a deletion or to add a new provision
  • List which provisions will be added or changed
  • Name of an executor to manage digital assets, if desired
  • How you want your pets cared for, if applicable
  • Names of the two or three witnesses

If you want to leave extensive instructions for how your pets will be cared for and funds for supporting your pets, you may also choose to create a Pet Trust.


Do Codicils to Wills have to be notarized?

A Codicil does not need to be notarized to be legal, but it does need to be witnessed. At the minimum, you'll need two witnesses. Ideally, you'll have three witnesses in case one is discredited if your Will and associated Codicils are challenged. Witnesses must be adults and of sound mind to qualify as viable witnesses. As an additional protection, you can add an Affidavit that states that the signee saw you sign the amendment to your Will. Witnesses also attest that you appeared to be of sound mind when you signed and that you were not under duress. Make sure you and your lawyer have copies of the changes to your Will.


Do I need a lawyer to change my Will?

If you only need to make a few changes, you can make the Codicil on your own and have your witnesses sign it as required to make it valid. If you do not feel confident making your own Codicil you can ask a lawyer for assistance.


Is a handwritten Codicil legal?

Often handwritten Codicils are legal if they are entirely handwritten (often called holographic) by the Will maker. The changes could be challenged if someone else wrote the changes and the Will maker just signed it. Or if it is typed and merely signed without a witness. If you are changing your Will, it would be best if you use a vetted document like ours and include the signatures of three witnesses. If handwritten codicils of a loved one or business partner have been discovered, it may be left up to the courts to decide if the changes are valid.


Codicil vs. new Will

If you only have a few changes to make to your Will, a Codicil will work well for you. However, if you have a lot of changes or numerous Codicils to your Will already, it may be easier to just change your Will. If you created your Will using Rocket Lawyer, you can simply access it from your account, alter it and have witnesses sign it, just like you did the first time. If you have questions about changing your Will you can ask an estate planning lawyer to help you decide whether a Codicil or a new Will is most suitable. If you do make a new Will make sure you have copies for those that need them and that your lawyer, executor and relevant family members know that you changed your Will.

If you need other types of Estate Planning Documents, we offer numerous options including those for making Living Wills, appointing Power of Attorneys, and those for creating Living Trusts.


Use the Codicil to Will document if:
  • A life-changing event makes it necessary to change your Will.
  • You have new beneficiaries such as a grandchild or new spouse.
  • You need to change your executor, trustee or guardian.
  • You want to add an executor to manage your digital assets.
  • You need to modify conditions or restrictions on the receipt of a bequest.
  • You want to add a pet provision.
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