Changing a Will after someone has died

June 5, 2014 2:08 pm

Changing a Will after someone has died

A Deed of Variation (sometimes referred to as a Deed of Family Arrangement) is a Deed by which people who benefit under the Will of someone who has died can change the terms of that Will so that the gift or benefit to them goes to someone else.  They may wish to do this for a number of reasons, such as:

1.  To save inheritance tax, capital gains tax or income tax, if they have substantial assets already.

2.  To provide a gift to someone who was left out of the Will or who has received less than they perhaps should have in order to avoid a dispute. 

3.  To change the type of gift, for example, to give a lump sum instead of an income from property.

4.  To amend an uncertainty or defect in the Will or update it because of changed circumstances.

5.  To change the way property is owned so that it does not automatically pass to a surviving joint owner on the death of the first.

The Deed must be entered into within two years of the death of the person who made the Will.  It must be approved and executed by everyone who will be affected by the changes, so cannot be done without a Court Order if there are minor children involved.

The effect of the Deed of Variation is that the estate is treated as if the provisions were contained in the original Will and the gift has passed directly to the new beneficiary.  However, expert legal advice should always be taken before entering into a Deed, particularly with regard to tax implications as the Inland Revenue will not automatically accept the consequences.

Please feel free to contact us if you’d like to discuss this issue further, telephone us on 01522 687500 or email