One might expect that the answer to this question would be a definitive no. However, under certain circumstances a will can actually be changed after death. This is 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, or to move the deceased’s assets into a trust or to clear up some 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, 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. Please call if you need help with these or other estate planning issues.