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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.
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)
codicilnoun accessory, accompaniment, additament, addition, addition to a will, additive, additum, adjunct, affixation, affixture, annex, annexation, appanage, appendage, appendix, attachment, augmentation, complement, epilogue, insertion, postscript, sequel, subscript, suffix, supplement, supplement to a will, testament, will addendum, will supplement
Associated concepts: will
See also: addendum, appendix, supplement
codicila document executed in testamentary form that acts as an amendment and supplement to a will.
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.