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Codicils in Cary

A Will establishes what a person wants to be done with their estate after their death. These documents can speak to the distribution of physical property, funds in bank accounts, ownership of real estate, or control over a business.

As functional as Wills are, they have their limitations. Circumstances in life can change, as can a testator’s relationships with others. As a result, it may be necessary or desirable to change a Will using a codicil. This amendment overrides any similar clause in a Will while leaving the rest of the document intact. To learn more about codicils in Cary, reach out to a knowledgeable attorney at our firm.

The Legal Power of a Codicil

A Will is a legally binding document. When a person dies, this document serves as their official instructions on what to do with their estate. As a general rule, a valid Will lasts from the date of signature until probate comes to an end. Furthermore, it is illegal for any party other than the testator to destroy, alter, or otherwise modify a Will without the testator’s permission.

However, it is possible for the testator to change their Will through codicils. According to North Carolina General Statutes § 31-5.1, a codicil can:

  • Contain entirely new language
  • Alter old language
  • Eliminate a prior provision

To be legally valid, a codicil must contain the testator’s signature as well as the signatures of two witnesses. An experienced lawyer can provide more information about the legal effects of codicils and how to put these provisions into practice in Cary.

Why Might a Codicil be Necessary?

Certain monumental life changes may lead a person to make changes to their Will. Perhaps the most common example of this is the birth of a child. The child will stand to inherit their share of the estate following North Carolina intestate laws unless the testator specifically provides for them in a codicil or new Will.

Another reason to create a codicil is the acquisition of new property or assets. For example, a party may purchase a home after creating an initial Will. If a testator wishes to leave their home to a specific party rather than allowing it to enter a liquidation sale after death, they can work with a skilled attorney to outline these intentions in a codicil.

Finally, a person may wish to amend a Will because of a simple change in opinion. Perhaps an individual who stood to inherit is no longer a friend, or the testator now wishes to donate funds to charity. Enacting a codicil can have a full legal effect regardless of the testator’s motivations for altering their Will.

Work with an Attorney on Creating Codicils in Cary

A Will is a serious and legally binding document. However, creating a Will does not mean a person is locked into those terms forever. State law allows for the modification of Wills through the creation of codicils.

A person could have various motivations for seeking a codicil. However, it is essential to follow the correct procedures for changing a Will. A seasoned attorney can provide advice about codicils in Cary and help you the necessary steps to ensure that your estate plan accurately reflects your current wishes. Contact our legal team today to discuss your situation.