The families I help are often surprised when I tell them that they can change a loved one’s Will. Surely a person’s wishes should be honoured shouldn’t they? Yet, since the vast majority of Wills I come across are out of date or just poorly drafted, I ask whether, if the deceased were here today, would he or she change that Will in light of new circumstances? A Will can be changed within 2 years of the date of death as long as the beneficiaries in the Will (specifically those who may lose out but such a change) all agree by deed. The official term for such a deed is “Deed of Variation.” So why would anyone change a Will? Why not consider the following:
1. Somebody has been left out. What about a new addition to the family who wasn’t born when the Will was made?
2. What about a child who had cared for the deceased, putting their life and financial future on hold for their parent’s benefit as well as the financial benefit of the wider family? Perhaps the other beneficiaries may wish to reward that sibling.
3. Maybe one beneficiary is in need of more financial help than the other, more financially secure beneficiaries?
4. A popular reason is for certain beneficiaries to create a trust or skip a generation in order to avoid future inheritance tax in their own estates.
5. Then there are the inclusion of charitable legacies which can ease the tax burden.
There are many other legitimate reasons for changing a Will and it is vital that professional advice is sought. The Probate Bureau offers full, impartial guidance and has many years of experience in such matters. If you are considering administering an estate yourself or applying for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, please call us for a free, no obligation, meeting to ascertain whether you need to change a Will and what the benefits and pitfalls are. A Deed of Variation is a legal instrument which can only be drafted by a competent solicitor regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The Probate Bureau complies with the Solicitors Introduction and Referral Code published by the Law Society, and any Solicitor to whom we may refer you is an independent professional from whom you will receive impartial and confidential advice.