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.

Key Contact

Phillip Bolton

Partner & Head of Private Wealth

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:

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 care fee funding

If you have capital of more than £23,250 you will generally be liable to fund your own care. We can advise you on what is taken into account in any financial assessment including income and what can be disregarded.

For more information about care fee funding, please click here.

There are a variety of reasons why you must be very careful if you want to make large gifts at a time when you might be in need of care. We can explain the risks involved to prevent repercussions in the future.

The average long term care is currently around £50,000 per year

a) Lasting Powers of Attorney

b) Wills

c) Tax planning

Being prepared for the future is key. We can help advise you on making your Will but can also advise on and prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney to ensure that your finances can be dealt with if you are incapacitated. For those who have a larger estate we can also advise on tax planning either through your Will or through lifetime giving.

In certain circumstances, a property belonging to someone who has entered care can be disregarded but there are strict rules around this. We can tell you whether or not your home would be included within a financial assessment.

Unless you pay for your own care, you will generally rely on financial assistance from the local authority. In some instances it may be necessary for a friend or relative to make a contribution to your care costs.

If your capital falls below £14,250 the council will fully fund any short fall after taking into account what you can contribute through your income. Depending on the care contract and care provider there could be issues with your care continuing at that care home.

This is the term used to explain a deliberate act in which assets are transferred or given away to prevent them from being taken into account when assessing liability for care fees. To find out more, please click here.

Unlike the seven year rule with inheritance tax, there is no set period after which gifting of assets is “safe” from being classed as a deprivation of assets. The local authority will carefully look at any such transactions and will look at the reasoning behind this gifting. If they believe that this has been done to avoid care home fees then the onus is on you or your family to prove otherwise.

We are specialists in elderly and future planning with a long established reputation in Wiltshire.

Our specialist team includes lawyers belonging to Solicitors for the Elderly who are also Dementia Friends or Dementia Champions.

Our clients rate us as excellent

Legal 500

Client orientated; they ensure the client is well informed with easy to read documents.

L C, Devizes

Our Wills were dealt with efficiently, we have already recommended your firm to our daughter and husband. Absolutely brilliant – thank you.

Sue Greenman

Everything was completed professionally and within my tight time scales. I would like to say thank you and would definitely go back to Goughs should I need help in the future.

Legal 500

Goughs gives outstanding customer satisfaction. They are very approachable, reliable, courteous and informed. I would recommend Goughs to anyone.

R F, Melksham

Great service, professional, great communication and handled what was a very sensitive situation with care and compassion.

W D, Calne

Professional, helpful & knowledgeable service. Giving very clear advice in a way I could understand. Thank you.

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.

Your Probate team

Partner (TEP)

Partner & Head of Private Client

Associate Solicitor

Associate (FILCEx)

Trainee Private Client Paralegal


Associate Solicitor


Trainee Solicitor


Trainee Solicitor

Trainee Private Client Paralegal

Trainee Solicitor



Associate (FILCEx)

Associate Solicitor

Associate (FCILEx)

Associate Solicitor

Partner (TEP)

Partner & Head of Private Wealth

Partner & Head of Private Client

Senior Associate (FCILEx)

Why choose Goughs?

Local since 1882, with an excellent reputation

First-class, effective service

Largest solicitors in Wiltshire

Seven offices throughout the county

Nationally accredited law firm

Recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners

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