You may be lulled into a false sense of security after first making your Will, thinking of it as something you can just “set and forget’. You’ve got all your ducks in a row and can now bask in the satisfaction of having completed such an important task.
But it’s actually important to think of your Will as a “living” document that can (and should) change as your circumstances change.
In fact, you can update, modify or completely cancel (revoke) your Will at any time.
Getting married or divorced, having children, buying a new property or deciding on a gift or legacy you’d like to leave can all mean that your Will is due for a review.
While some new developments in your life call for a complete overhaul of your Will, others can easily be catered for by making an “add on” to your existing Will. This is where Codicils come in.
So, when should you start from scratch and write a completely new Will and when should you just amend the one you have with a Codicil?
In this post we tell you when and how to write a Codicil to a Will in Australia, and when you may need to rewrite your Will.
When do you need a Codicil?
Codicils are like a little “P.S.” that make one or more minor amendments to your Will.
You’d normally use one when you want to introduce a small change, or add an extra instruction that still works within your overall Will and won’t confuse or cancel out any other parts of the Will.
Some situations where you might want to add a Codicil to your Will include:
When should you rewrite a Will instead of using a Codicil?
It is always wise to seek professional advice when deciding whether to opt for a Codicil or new Will. Generally, where it is easy and practical to do so, a new Will is always helpful whenever you want to make a change.
You might need to make a completely new Will if:
How do you structure a Codicil?
Although there’s no standard form or template for a Codicil, adding one to an existing Will is a straightforward process. The basic things you need to include are:
The Codicil should be signed and witnessed by two people in the same way as a Will and it should be stored with the original Will.
Updating your Will is easy with Safewill
Changing a traditional Will usually means trips and phone calls to the solicitor’s office and, you guessed it, more fees and charges than you can poke a stick at.
Pre-prepared Will kits also have limitations when it comes to making changes - they tend to be fairly inflexible and can’t be amended without starting again by purchasing a new kit.
Using an online platform like Safewill makes it super easy (and affordable) to update your Will and, in a few easy steps, to print, sign and witness a new Will. Safewill packages include the ability to make unlimited changes to your Will in the first year.
After your first year with Safewill, you have the option to sign up for an affordable subscription service which allows you to continue to make unlimited updates and also notifies you when there are changes to the law that affect your Will.