How can will additions lead to estate disputes?

Date: Feb 29, 2016

In cases where a will dispute arises, these are typically the consequence of an outdated or invalid will. However, there are times when additions can have a major effect on the distribution of the deceased's estate.

In many situations like this, you may feel that the division of the estate is not a fair representation of the feelings and wishes of the deceased. There are a number of reasons for this. For one, a codicil could have been added without your knowledge.

What is a codicil?

A codicil is a legal document that is added to an existing will. The aim of a codicil is to change, amend or remove specific conditions and wishes from a will.

To create a codicil, the will maker must follow the same steps they would if they were creating a whole new will. If they stray from these requirements, the codicil could be found invalid. Specifically, the signing process must be in front of two adult witnesses, neither of whom can be a beneficiary. 

What could lead a codicil to be invalid?

Unlike what many people think, a codicil cannot simply be created and added to a will. Developing and implementing a codicil is a very tricky procedure. It will involve the maker and an experienced wills and estates lawyer who can help the person through the process.

There is plenty of room for mistakes. One is when the Codicil uses terms or language that is inconsistent with the original will, leading to problems in interpreting the intention of the will maker. Other problems can arise if there has been a significant change in the circumstances of the will maker. 

Additionally, if a will is invalid, creating a codicil is a pointless endeavour. Creating a whole new will is a much safer option and can better ensure your wishes are have the intended result. 

If a codicil is incorrect in any way it can have a major impact on a will and facilitate someone who is challenging a will. If you are adamant about creating a codicil, make sure you have an experienced wills and trusts lawyer in your counsel.

One way to accomplish this by contacting Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers today and find out how they can guide you through the estate planning process.