Deed of Variation
(Changing a Will
after Death)

Your dedicated lawyer will guide you through your Will


Deed of Variation

What does it mean?

A Deed of Variation is an official document that allows the beneficiaries to change who inherits the estate. A Deed of Variation can either be made by the beneficiaries of a will or by the people who stand to inherit under the rules of intestacy.

Why may you want to change
someone's Will after their death?

There are a number of reasons you may want to change someone’s will after their death, including:

  1. The Will was written a long time ago. For example if the Will doesn’t include children or grandchildren who were born after it was written

  2. You don’t need all of your share and want it to benefit someone else

  3. You want to reduce the Inheritance Tax bill. There may a more Tax efficient way to distribute the estate. 

  4. As a family you’d like to even things out for all beneficiaries

  5. You’d like your inheritance, or part of it, to go to charity

The particular reason why you want to change someone’s Will will be unique to you and your family. 

We're here to help navigate the complex laws

Your probate experts since 1882

Popular questions
about Deed of Variations

If the Will was written a long time ago, or there was no Will, the distribution of assets may not provide for the best result for the recipients. For example, there could be others who are in greater need of the funds, to save tax by giving additional assets to charity, or to redirect assets qualifying for inheritance tax relief. The most important thing to remember is that there is a two year time limit from the date of death to prepare a post death variation.

In cases where there was no Will and the estate was passed using the rules of intestacy, again the recipient of any assets, may wish to look at redistribution of them. 

A solicitor can help navigate the complex laws surrounding what happens with a person’s estate on their death. 

We strongly advise against writing a Deed of Variation yourself as there are likely to be complex legal and financial tax implications if you don’t get it right. 

At Goughs solicitors, our team of specialists have expertise in tax, Trusts and estates and have years of experience helping people change a Will after someone’s death. We can advise you on the best course of action no matter how simple or complex your requirements.

For more information on Deeds of Variation, please click here.

Alternatively, if you would like to make a Deed of Variation, please speak to our specialists today.

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Your Probate team

Catherine Cole

Private Client Practitioner

Following a career in hospitality, Catherine began working in private client law in 2002. She joined Goughs in 2017 and within 2 years she was promoted to an Associate

Maxine Coles

Associate Chartered Legal Executive

Maxine specialises in Private Client work, with much of her work being in elderly client care. She has a natural empathy towards clients in what can often be distressing situations.

Samantha Cory


Samantha joined Goughs as a Solicitor in 2020. Samantha has been practicing in Private Client law since 2018, and loves the personal interaction with clients and being able to help them with difficult personal and emotional circumstances.

Annie James


Annie qualified as a Private Client solicitor in 2016 and joined Goughs in February 2020. She specialises in the preparation of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, preparation and administration of Trusts, and the administration of Estates. Annie prides herself on taking the time to really understand the needs and priorities of her clients.

Rochelle Graham


Rochelle qualified as a Private Client solicitor in September 2019 after gaining valuable experience in the Private Client team. She is now a year qualified and continues to develop and further her knowledge of Private client work.

Luchia Hirst

Associate Solicitor

Luchia has been practicing Private Client law for close to 8 years, and really enjoys the client contact and hands-on nature of this area of practice.

Dawn Moir

Partner (TEP)

Dawn joined in 2003 and became a partner in 2004. Whilst Dawn supports her team with all aspects of estate planning and estate administration, her particular areas of expertise are later life planning & support, and trust creation & administration, including all things tax.

Phillip Bolton

Partner & Head of Private Wealth

Phillip is a Partner and Head of the Private Wealth Team at the firm. His practice encompasses all aspects of private client work, with a particular interest in complex Wills, wealth preservation, tax mitigation, and estate planning.

Emma Taylor

Partner & Head of Private Client

Emma began her life at Goughs in 2008 as a Solicitor. Now, with over 15 years of experience, she is a Partner and Head of the Private Client Department. Emma deals with all areas of Private Client work but has a particular interest in Trusts and Complex Property Ownership.

Trish Watkins

Senior Associate (CILEx)

As a Private Client lawyer, Trish always had a strong empathy for the elderly and vulnerable and prides herself in being able to engage with them and support them through what can be very difficult times.

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Related Pages

Everything you need to know

Making a Will

Transfer of Equity

Amending a Will

Wills & Powers of Attorney