Can you change a will after death?

On the face of it, this sounds implausible. How can you change your will if you have died?

In reality, as long as any beneficiaries left worse off after any change, agree, you can change a person’s will after their death.

Any change must be completed within two years of the death.

The circumstances that such a change can be agreed are to:

  • Reduce the amount of Capital Gains Tax or Inheritance Tax payable,
  • Provide for someone who was left out of the will,
  • Move the deceased’s assets into a trust,
  • Clear up any uncertainty over the will.

Executors will need to make a variation to the will to accomplish the above, this will involve:

  • Preparing a variation document that satisfies certain legal requirements, and
  • If there is more Inheritance Tax to pay, a copy of the variation must be sent to HMRC within six months of making it. This condition does not apply if the variation does not change the amount of Inheritance Tax payable.

This ability to change a will after death can often resolve family disputes if the affected beneficiaries agree. However, the process is best managed by a professional advisor to ensure that all the formalities are dealt with correctly.

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