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In certain circumstances, a will can be changed after death. This can be done by using what is known as a Deed of Variation. Any changes to the will must be done within two years from the date of death. However, beneficiaries who would be left worse off by the change must give their agreement before any changes can be made.
This is most often done to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax payable, to help someone who was left out of the Will, to move the deceased’s assets into a trust or to clear-up uncertainties relating to the will. For example, a grandparent may have left assets to a grandchild but did not update his / her will when another grandchild was born.
As we mentioned, a Deed of Variation can only be executed upon the agreement of all the beneficiaries and executors. It is more complicated if children are involved as they cannot themselves consent to changes.
For some readers, this might be a timely reminder not just of the importance of having a will but also of ensuring it is updated as circumstances change over time.