Definition of "Codicil"

Susan  Schude real estate agent

Written by

Susan Schudeelite badge icon

UTR Texas Realtors

You may have heard the term codicil in a conversation but might have yet to understand it entirely. What’s the codicil definition? “Codicil meaning” refers to a supplement or addition that demonstrates, modifies, clarifies, or revokes a will or some of its parts.

What is codicil in real estate?

Codicil real estate plays a vital role in amending a will or trust document about real estate. In the United States, a supplement is crucial to reflect a property owner’s wishes accurately. Moreover, the official codicil real estate definition describes how this instrument offers a practical solution for modifying the document without completely revoking it.

Why is a codicil in real estate beneficial and highly popular in the States?

Based on the “codicil definition of real estate,” we can imagine a legal document created to change an existing last will. Primarily, the appendix includes provisions related to real estate. Why is it useful? 

Firstly, you or your estate planning lawyer don’t have to reword the entire will or trust document. Instead, a codicil enables property owners to change specific aspects and paragraphs. You can also add new provisions while keeping the original document intact. 

Secondly, codicil in real estate allows you to adapt your estate plans to changing circumstances. Think of purchasing or investing in a new property, getting married, raising children, or changing your estate beneficiaries.

Thirdly, a codicil is time, energy, and cost-effective to draft. Modifying an existing testament through a supplement is generally faster and more cost-effective than forming an entirely new will or trust.

Forth, specificity and clarity are a codicil’s main features. A well-drafted codicil can address particular real assets. Plus, it ensures that changes are precisely applied to your intended property. 

Which are the most important life events that warrant a codicil?

  1. Change in property ownership: When purchasing or selling real estate, consider updating your will through this legal supplement to ensure the new property is recorded correctly.
  2. Change in your family situation: Marriage, a financially challenging divorce, the birth of your child, or a beneficiary’s death may require changes in your estate plans.
  3. Change in wishes: Suppose you intend or desire to make amends to your original will. In that case, a codicil permits you to include these changes without affecting the entire document.

How to avoid creating confusion when drafting a codicil in real estate?

Though codicils can be helpful, there are several considerations you must take into account. First, suppose you create multiple codicils over time. Then, it can trigger confusion and lead to potential conflicts among heirs and beneficiaries when inheriting the property.

You can create and word your own codicil. However, a poorly prepared and unclear codicil can backfire and become a target for legal challenges, especially if it contradicts the initial document or other appendices. For this reason, we recommend contacting a real estate attorney or estate planning lawyer to avoid the codicil’s contestability.

In addition, you must ensure that the codicil systematically and thoroughly enlists all intended changes to avoid unintentionally excluding essential matters.

What are the most crucial requirements to draft a codicil?

One must meet the following indispensable requirements to guarantee the codicil’s effectiveness and legal validity!

  • The individual making the codicil (or the testator) must be in charge of their mental capacity and be of legal age (typically eighteen years or older.)
  • A codicil must respect state-specific formalities. A supplement must be written, the testator must sign it, and two or more trustworthy observers must officially witness. The witnesses mustn’t be beneficiaries of the will!
  • The codicil should be compatible and harmonious with the original document!
  • The codicil must express the testator's unambiguous intentions to change specific provisions within the original will.

Comments for Codicil

Robert Bridges Robert Bridges said:

I gave permission for my neighbor to expand his driveway by utilizing about a 25 X 14" strip of our property. How do I make the change in the property deed to allow this to be a permanent change?

Sep 09, 2023  11:11:17

Real Estate Agent

Hello Robert! Thank you for reaching out to us!
Did the ownership of that strip of land change by granting permission to your neighbor to use it as his driveway? Suppose you wish to change the property deed or details about it. In that case, we recommend you consult a real estate attorney to avoid future misunderstandings over property lines and ownership.

Sep 19, 2023  11:05:30
Lorie L Warfield Lorie L Warfield said:

My parents died. My sister and I are supposed to split the property that was supposed to be a codicil. She said she can't find it. There's some guy living on the property and I need to know what to do.

May 08, 2019  17:20:39

Real Estate Agent

HI, Lorie! Unfortunately, we cannot provide legal advice. is a directory that connects real estate agents with home buyers and sellers. We recommend that you hire an attorney or a real estate lawyer. 

May 09, 2019  06:41:51
Sheryl Sheryl said:

What term is used for an exemption to a zoning law?

Apr 16, 2018  22:44:46

Real Estate Agent

"Zoning Variance", Sheryl
And you can read more about it, right here in our real estate glossary. Just click here >>

Apr 27, 2018  17:18:27
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