Wills and Codicils


A last will and testament is just one aspect of a comprehensive estate plan that might also include the naming of a financial power of attorney, the establishment of trusts and a healthcare proxy. A will is a legal document that expresses a person’s binding decisions concerning the disposition of assets owned in his or her name alone at the time of death. The document also states your preference for who will manage the distribution of your assets. Additionally, your will can nominate a guardian for any minor children who survive without a legal parent to care for them. If you do not name your preference for guardian, the courts are legally obligated to determine the appropriate guardian.

A properly drafted will is a binding legal document that gives you and your family peace of mind and predictability in the event of your death. Alternatively, if an individual passes away in North Carolina without a will, state laws will dictate how your assets are distributed. In these case, people are said to have died intestate.


A codicil is an amendment, or supplement, to a will. Rather than drafting a new will, a modification is made to an existing section or article of a previously valid will. The procedure for signing and executing a codicil is the same as a will. After the codicil has been signed and properly completed in accordance with state law, it stands as a separate legal document which adds to, omits from, or otherwise alters the will.

Set up an appointment today with an estate attorney at Bagwell Holt Smith P.A. to discuss creating or modifying your will.

Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys