When one creates a will in Maryland, they may think everything is set in stone and may not give it any further thought. Yet sometimes a person's life circumstances change in a way that leads them to want to change the terms of their will. Perhaps they have remarried, had a child or gained a valuable piece of property. When one wants to amend their will in Maryland, they usually have to create what is known as a codicil.
A codicil changes the original language of the will. Multiple codicils can be created over the course of a person's lifetime. To effectively create a codicil, it must be written and signed by the person creating it. In addition, two credible witnesses must be present when it is created and these witnesses must sign it while in the presence of the person who made the codicil. Someone creating a codicil must be age 18 or older, and the codicil should include the date it was created.
Creating a codicil can be a good way to ensure one's will stays up to date with one's life circumstances. However, some people may wish to challenge a codicil, through probate litigation, after the creator's death. To do so, they must file a caveat proceeding. Some grounds on which a codicil may be challenged include fraud, undue influence or the lack of capacity when the codicil was created. People who wish to challenge a codicil must do so within a certain amount of time. If they miss this window of time, they may no longer be able to challenge it.
Creating a codicil to a will is just one part of maintaining an up-to-date estate plan. Those with further questions about creating or contesting codicils may want to seek advice from aprobate lawyer.