The Law, Dealing With Birth and Death

CamaraWilliams1by Camara Williams
Wow, What a whirlwind week! For those who may not know, my wife and I welcomed our first child. Unfortunately, I also found out that my grandfather had passed away early Sunday morning. Within seven days my family has experienced the true cycle of life. Both of these life events require not only an adjustment in our daily lives, but also in our planning of a future going forward. For my wife and I it means adjusting our beneficiaries and including our daughter (I apologize in advance to my twin brother and sister in law-you guys have been replaced).

For my grandmother, it means changing the beneficiaries, because someone has unexpectedly passed away. If we are dealing with a Will, that could mean either creating a new will document, or adding a codicil. What exactly is a Codicil? Well that is this week’s legal topic.

A codicil is a document used to alter, revoke, delete, add to, or republish a will, and it's typically given as much care as your original will. It is most commonly used to add to your will, change beneficiaries, or change your personal representative. To properly prepare a codicil, an attorney will need to review your existing will. A codicil has the same basic requirements of a will. It must be in writing and witnessed, and you, the testator, must be of sound mind and capable of understanding what you're executing.

Your will is valid until you die and your estate probate is officially closed by the court. However, any estate planning attorney worth their salt will recommend you periodically update your will and amend the document whenever a major change occurs in your life — such as when you marry, divorce, a beneficiary dies, a child is born or you lose or gain significant assets. If the changes required are minor and affect only one or two clauses, then drafting a codicil will be more appropriate, however if major substantial change is needed. Then drafting a complete new valid will is your best bet.

As my family has experienced, no one can escape the passages of life, joy and agony are on the same family tree. However, if you plan appropriately the surprises of both will not cause an upheaval in your life, but simply a smooth passage of what is expected. I always implore everyone I know to at least have a last will and testament, regardless of age, financial and life status. Life will move on, and with the proper planning so can you.

If you or anyone you know has an Estate Planning question, please feel free to contact my office.

Camara Williams-Attorney at Law
Office: 321-332-6136
“Creating A Success Story, One Client At A Time”
Disclaimer- My tips are strictly Florida Law based, and therefore should not be assumed to apply to your local jurisdiction. Furthermore, a tip does not constitute any form of ‘legal advice’ in regards to any specific situation and therefore does not establish an attorney client relationship. You must consult with an Attorney if you want a specific need and/or question answered.

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