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Codicil to a Will in Canada | ClearWay Law

Codicil a Will in Canada

Are you looking to codicil a Will in Canada? Imagine you had a lawyer prepare your will for a few hundreds of dollars. Then after a couple of weeks, you realized you need to make revisions to the will. You wouldn’t want to redraft the entire document. The Wills Act makes it possible to do codicil.

If you need to codicil a will in Canada, call our law firm toll free at 1-844-466-6529

Codicil a Will in Canada- What’s Is It?

A Codicil to Last Will is a form used for minor modifications to an existing Last Will and Testament. This document is used when the person (the testator) does not want to create a completely new Will. They don’t want to redo it to make minor adjustments, such as adding, removing or modifying an existing clause.

The Codicil is treated as a separate legal document from a will. Nevertheless, the records are almost always kept together. This is because one document’s significance is influenced by the other’s existence. A Codicil may change either one or multiple will provisions. This document revises the Will and makes the minor changes while leaving the rest of the Will unchanged.

A codicil should only be used for simple things like changing an appointment (the Executor or Guardian), a change of beneficiary’s legal name, adding or removing beneficiaries, and changes in assets and liabilities of the testator.


3 things you can do when you want to update your Will


Create a note about the Will by hand

If the changes make a significant difference to the estate distribution, there is a high likelihood that the Will will be questioned. Since there will always be questions about which changes were made when this is not generally recommended. Although it may save you money, it won’t save any time since two independent witnesses still need to observe the provisional adjustments.

Create your own codicil

This outlines the same clause, and with the new wording, specifies that the clause will change. This agreement must be signed once more in the presence of two witnesses.

Referring to the original Will, write a new document with the title “Codicil to a Will,” which refers to the current Last Will and Testament, and outlines a change to a specific clause in that Will.

Codicil Will CanadaBuild a New Will

This step ensures that your Will is written correctly, and does not actually take much more time and effort than the other options. If you’re going to a new lawyer with an existing Will, they’d probably suggest you write a new Will instead of trying to adapt the old Will with a codicil. They’d like to examine all the components in your current Will to ensure it’s still representing your condition. It also ensures that your will is up to date.

Learn more about Wills: Amending A Will Using A Codicil


Codicil a Will in Canada – How to make your own


Will in Canada- Making the revisions

The Testator makes all the needed revisions to the will. They should have access to a copy of the Will which they can refer to as they create the Codicil. The exact text of the clause to be omitted or modified should be included in the Codicil, if at all necessary.

The bottom of the pages should be numbered and initialed by hand. Two witnesses (should not benefit under the will) should also date and sign the document.  A notary may complete any other essential paperwork to authenticate the validity of the Codicil.

Once the Codicil has been completed and signed, it should be stored together with the original Will, in a safe place such as a personal safe or bank security deposit. The Testator may also choose to give their executor and any other parties that have copies of the original Will copies of the Codicil. 

As with Wills, creating a Codicil to Last Will is a matter of provincial and territorial legislation.

If you need legal help in creating/updating a will in Ontario or BC, contact us.

Will in Canada- Should You Hire A Lawyer?

If you go back to the same lawyer who wrote your original Will, it is actually faster for that lawyer to write a new Will compared to a codicil being prepared.

If you’re going to a new lawyer with an existing Will, they’d probably suggest you write a new Will instead of trying to adapt the old Will with a codicil. They’d like to examine all the elements in your current Will to ensure it’s still representing your current state.

We are now living in an age of computers and printers. Most lawyers use software to generate the final document. They enter your information in the system, and they create a Will. Many commercial software packages require the lawyer to save your information so they can sign in. They can then locate your account and make an upgrade easily in the future.

That is why lawyers typically charge several hundred dollars to amend a Will. It’s usually more difficult than having to create a brand-new Will.

*Blogs are not legal advice. Hire a lawyer to get proper legal advice.