HM Insights

Can I amend my existing Will?

The American singer Pink, who is said to be worth $200 million, has recently revealed in an interview that she rewrote her Will after thinking she would die after she and her son Jameson tested positive for Covid-19 in 2020. Whilst you may not be a Pop Star, creating a clear, effective and up to date Will is one of the most important aspects in the Estate Planning process. It is best practice to review your Will every three to five years and after any major life changes to determine whether any changes are required. Updating your Will ensures that your surviving family are aware of your wishes as to how you wish your estate to be distributed.  

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How can I amend my Will?

A Codicil is a legal document that modifies or amends your previously executed Will. Any amendments made by a Codicil must comply with the same legal requirements and be executed in the same way as your Will.  A Codicil does not replace your existing Will. On death, it will be read alongside your original Will. If the Codicil changes something in the original Will, the terms of the Codicil will stand over the terms of the Will.

How can I benefit from a Codicil?

A Codicil is a useful way of making minor or a small number of changes to your Will, for example:

  • Changing your Executor: If the Executor name within your Will has died or if you believe that your current Executor has lost capacity to act, you can appoint new Executors/Trustees using a Codicil.
  • Updating your Beneficiaries: Adding new or changing existing beneficiaries. For example, if you have recently divorced you may wish to use a Codicil to remove an ex-partner as a beneficiary. You may also use a Codicil to add your grandchildren, other family members or a charity as new beneficiaries or to update the name or address of an existing beneficiary.
  • Revoking or Giving of Gifts: if you would like to remove a gift given to a beneficiary in your Will or give a gift to an existing or new beneficiary.
  • New Assets: If you have acquired assets that you wish to leave for your beneficiaries.

Can I have more than one Codicil?

Yes, there is no limit to the number of Codicils a person can add to their Will. However, it is best to avoid any duplication or unclear alteration which may affect its validity.

Should I make a new Will instead of a Codicil?

It is possible to revoke (cancel) your current Will make a new one in its place. This option would be more appropriate in circumstances where substantial amendments require to be made, for example: following a separation or divorce, birth of children or a breakdown in extended family relationships.

A new Will should contain a clause that revokes any previous Wills, therefore making your new Will the document that will be recognised and adhered to following your death.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about how to update or change your Will, or you do not currently hold a Will and would like further information on how to make one, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our private client team.

Useful links

Making a will Scotland