A will is defined in Black’s Law dictionary as the legal expression of an individual’s wishes about the disposition of his or her property after death; especially a document by which a person directs his or her estate to be distributed upon death.
A codicil is defined in the same dictionary to mean a supplementary or addition to a will not necessarily disposing of the entire estate but modifying, explaining or otherwise qualifying the will in some way.
A sane adult (male or female) above the age of 18 years can make a will. The person who makes a will is called a Testator and is entitled to dispose of his/her property based on preference. A will must be voluntarily made without any external influence.
A will becomes operative at the demise of the testator. While a Testator is still alive, s/he is entitled to amend the will using a codicil (a document used to amend a will). It serves as an addendum to a will. They state additional instructions not contained in the will. It may be used to distribute assets to which the testator got entitled after executing his/her will, revoke gifts given in the will, appoint new executors to replace previously appointed executors who may be unable to act, or such other supplemental issues that may arise after the execution of the Will.
Will and codicil helps a testator to distribute his or her estate (everything you own; your property and liability) as desired. It also spares the family and dependants of the testator the stress and cost of processing Letter of Administration which is required for intestate succession.
“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous”.
Proverbs 13:22 (NIV)