In the popular imagination, a Last Will and Testament is virtually synonymous with a person’s final say – an immutable document that cannot be changed or challenged.
However, that’s not quite true. Not only can a Will be challenged in certain circumstances, but the beneficiaries can also agree to change its provisions.
How can a Will be changed?
A Will can be changed using a document called a Deed of Variation, which will enable the estate to be distributed in a different way from the one set out in the Will.
Why might we want to change a Will?
There are various reasons why beneficiaries might want to change a Will, but they split into three broad categories:
Who must agree to a change in a Will?
All beneficiaries must agree to a Deed of Variation. Where those beneficiaries are under the age of 18, the court will have to consent to the change first.
If just one beneficiary declines to agree to a Deed of Variation, it cannot proceed.
Are there time limits to change a Will?
If you are changing a Will for IHT reasons, then you will need to make a Deed of Variation within two years of the date of death.
If you are changing a Will for other reasons, then you can even make a Deed of Variation after the estate has been distributed.
To find out more about issues relating to Wills and your estate, please contact us.