Wed. Sep 27th, 2023
    The Role of Codicils in Real Estate Succession Planning

    The real estate market is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and always presenting new opportunities and challenges. Therefore, it is crucial for property owners to keep their succession plans up to date to reflect the current state of affairs. One effective way to do this is through the use of codicils in real estate, a legal instrument that allows for the modification of an existing will without having to completely draft a new one.

    Codicils, derived from the Latin term “codicillus” meaning “little codex or book,” were traditionally brief documents used to amend, rather than replace, a previously executed will. Today, they serve as a practical tool for updating a succession plan, enabling property owners to make minor changes or additions without the need for a complete revision.

    When it comes to real estate, codicils can be particularly useful. For example, if a property owner acquires a new asset, such as a house or land, a codicil can be used to include it in the existing will. Similarly, if a property mentioned in the will is sold or transferred, a codicil can be used to remove it.

    However, while codicils offer a convenient way to update a succession plan, they should be used with caution. Making too many changes through codicils can lead to confusion and potential legal disputes. Additionally, if the changes are substantial or complex, drafting a new will may be a more appropriate option.

    The process of creating a codicil involves several key steps. First, the property owner must review their existing will to identify the changes that need to be made. They should then consult with a legal professional to ensure that the codicil is drafted correctly and in accordance with local laws. Once the codicil is written, it must be signed and witnessed in the same manner as the original will.

    It is important to note that while codicils can be handwritten, it is generally recommended that they be typed to avoid potential issues of legibility or interpretation. Additionally, it is crucial to securely store the codicil along with the original will, so that it can be easily found when needed.

    Codicils in real estate are not exempt from potential issues. For example, they can unintentionally create inconsistencies if they are not properly aligned with the original will. There is also the risk of the codicil getting lost or overlooked, which could result in the original will being executed without the intended changes.

    Despite these potential challenges, when used correctly, codicils can be a valuable tool for keeping a succession plan up to date. They offer a flexible and cost-effective way to make minor adjustments in response to changes in assets or the property owner’s circumstances.

    In conclusion, understanding the role of codicils in real estate is an essential part of managing a succession plan. With careful planning and appropriate legal advice, property owners can effectively use codicils to adapt their wills to the ever-changing real estate market, ensuring that their assets are distributed according to their wishes. As with all legal matters, it is always advisable to seek professional guidance before making significant changes to your succession plan.

    – Latin term ‘codicillus’ meaning ‘little codex or book’:
    – Definition of Codicil: Legal Dictionary