Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Codicil Definition:

An amendment to an existing will.

Related Terms: Will

"By definition a codicil is a supplement to, an addition to or qualification of, an existing will, made by the testator to alter, enlarge, or restrict the provisions of the will, to explain or republish it, or to revoke it, and it must be testamentary in character."

These words were adopted by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma in Johnson v Johnson.

In Estate of Loud, Justice Doran of the California Court of Appeals loudly stated:

"A later testamentary writing which is supplementary to an earlier instrument is termed a codicil. However ... (a) mere reference to a Will with no testamentary intent is not a codicil."

Codicils have been a part of estate law for hundreds of years. In Book 2, page 450 of his Commentaries on the laws of England, William Blackstone described a codocil as:

"... a supplement to will, or an addition made by the testator, and annexed to and to be taken as part of a testament."

The venerable 2010 Halsbury's Laws of England, Volume 102, at page 11, these words:

"A codicil is of similar nature to a will as regards both its purposes and the formalities relating to it, but in general it is supplemental to and considered as annexed to a will previously made, being executed for the purpose of adding to, varying or revoking the provisions of that will. A codicil is nevertheless capable of independent existence, so that the revocation of a will, or a part of a will, does not necessarily effect the revocation of a codocil to it."

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