A codicil to a will is an amendment to an original will. It may create a new bequest or clause, it may cancel a specific section, provide additional clarification to a section of the will, or may modify a specific clause of the will.

Codicils were more popular when wills were entirely handwritten or typed and rewriting an entire document for a seemingly minor change was more of a challenge than it is today. I have an ancestor who had a will and several codicils that were approved by the court in the 1930s. His codicils only addressed his will’s mention of property given to his daughter. There were separate codicils when her husband’s financial situation worsened, when her husband eventually died, and when the daughter died (having predeceased her father). The codicils only referenced the gift to the daughter and the original will was already a document of a significant length and the clauses to the other children were not changed.

If the will and any codicils are approved, they would be recorded together in the court office responsible for the oversight of probate or settlement of estates. The codicil does not replace the will. It only impacts the specific sections of the document–and that should be referenced in the codicil.