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A document that is executed by a person who had previously made his or her will, to modify, delete, qualify, or revoke provisions contained in it.

A codicil effectuates a change in an existing will without requiring that the will be reexecuted. The maker of the codicil identifies the will that is to be changed by the date of its execution. The codicil should state that the will is affirmed except for the changes contained therein. The same formalities that are necessary for the valid execution of a will must be observed when a codicil is executed. Failure to do so renders the codicil void.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. a written amendment to a person's will, which must be dated, signed and witnessed just as a will would be, and must make some reference to the will it amends. A codicil can add to, subtract from or modify the terms of the original will. When the person dies, both the original will and the codicil are submitted for approval by the court (probate) and form the basis for administration of the estate and distribution of the belongings of the writer. (See: probate, will)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


a document executed in testamentary form that acts as an amendment and supplement to a will.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CODICIL, devises. An addition or supplement to a will; it must be executed with the same solemnities. A codicil is a part of the will, the two instruments making but one will. 4 Bro. C. C. 55; 2 Ves. sen. 242 4 Ves. 610; 2 Ridgw. Irish P. C. 11, 43.
     2. There may be several codicils to one will, and the whole will be taken as one: the codicil does not, consequently, revoke the will further than it is in opposition to some of its particular dispositions, unless there be express words of revocation. 8 Cowen, Rep. 56.,
     3. Formerly, the difference between a will and a codicil consisted in this, that in the former an executor was named, while in the latter none was appointed. Swinb. part 1, s. 5, pl. 2; Godolph. Leg. part 1, c. 6, s. 2. This is the distinction of the civil law, and adopted by the canon law. Vide Williams on Wills, ch. 2; Rob. on Wills, 154, n. 388, 476; Lovelass on Wills, 185, 289 4 Kent, Com. 516; 1 Ves. jr. 407, 497; 3 Ves. jr. 110; 4 Ves. jr. 610; 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 116, 140.
     4. Codicils were chiefly intended to mitigate the strictness of the ancient Roman law, which required that a will should be attested by seven Roman citizens, omni exceptione majores. A legacy could be bequeathed, but the heir could not be appointed by codicil, though he might be made heir indirectly by way of fidei commissum.
     5. Codicils owe their origin to the following circumstances. Lucius Lentulus, dying in Africa, left. codicils, confirmed by anticipation in a will of former date, and in those codicils requested the emperor Augustus, by way of fidei commissum, or trust, to do something therein expressed. The emperor carried this will into effect, and the daughter of Lentulus paid legacies which she would not otherwise have been legally bound to pay. Other persons made similar fidei-commissa, and then the emperor, by the advice of learned men whom he consulted, sanctioned the making of codicils, and thus they became clothed with legal authority. Just. 2, 25; Bowy. Com. 155, 156.
     6. The form of devising by codicil is abolished in Louisiana; Code, 1563; and whether the disposition of the property be made by testament, under this title, or under that of institution of heir, of legacy, codicil, donation mortis causa, or under any other name indicating the last will, provided it be clothed with the forms required for the validity of a testament, it is, as far as form is concerned, to be considered a testament. Ib. Vide 1 Brown's Civil Law, 292; Domat, Lois Civ. liv. 4, t. 1, s. 1; Lecons Element, du Dr. Civ. Rom. tit. 25.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
A lack of knowledge and approval on the part of the testator of the contents of the 2000 Codicil and 2001 Will (if contrary to earlier finding, the testator possessed testamentary capacity); and
One of the hoped-for outcomes of such a codicil is that women would be elevated--and no doubt they would in fact.
If pre-marriage wills are not affirmed through a signed codicil at the very least, the individuals will die intestate and subject to state inheritance laws.
A codicil added on November 23rd asked for the Indians in the New World to be kindly treated.
2) in the first part of the book, through the ambivalent uses of 'confession', both entrapping and constituting women as subjects, in the second, to a concluding codicil in which Mora Maltravers can simply say 'I want to be free', and 'right afterward, with a few other words she exits the stage to seat herself in the rising balloon' (p.
(As a codicil, the best lists are frequently competing publications, and their lists are down these days, with fewer fresh names added.)
Through the arbitration of Moses, God and Israel reached an agreement to add a codicil (the Law) to the testament that God established in trust with Abraham and his descendant the Christ.
One spouse signed a codicil, leaving his community property to the children of the marriage, then died.
There are many ways to do it with a check, life insurance policy, pledge, or codicil in your will.
* adding a codicil to the existing ECDA to dedicate federal funding to child care;
The federation and tax inspectors wanted a requirement that 50% of the budget be spent in Holland but gaining approval by the European Commission for this protectionist codicil, among other problems, took time, and uncertainty over the measure's future caused filming under the tax break system to come practically to a standstill.
Prior to his trip, he wrote a codicil to his will of October 13.