Question 1: What is a codicil? A codicil is an amendment to a will. It’s a document you make after you’ve executed a will that changes, adds to, subtracts from, or otherwise modifies the terms of that will. You can, for example, use a codicil to modify the will you wrote before you got married or before you had a new child.
Question 2: Do you have to register a codicil? No. Just like your will, no state requires that you “register” or otherwise file your codicil with a state government agency. After you die, your codicil will have to be filed with the court and will become part of the public record, but you do not have to file it before then. All you have to do is make sure the codicil meets the state requirements for it to be judged valid by a court. These requirements are the same those for creating a will, meaning you must put it in writing, sign it and have it signed by witnesses.
Question 3: Do you have to use a codicil to change your will? No. A codicil is, like a will itself, completely optional. There is no situation that ever requires you to make a codicil, though they may be useful in a number of circumstances. As an alternative to making a codicil, you may also draft a new will and revoke the previous one. Regardless of your choice, it’s best to talk to an experienced estate planning attorney for advice about what best suits your needs.