Changing Wills After Death for the Benefit of Others

A will expresses the final wishes of the deceased person and it is commonly thought that a will is irrevocable after death. However, provided everyone agrees, it is normally possible to vary a will provided that the application is made within two years of the death.

A Deed of Family Arrangement, or DFA, (also known as a Deed of Variation) is a legal document which can be used to 'rewrite' provisions of a will. While these were originally introduced to protect dependents from being unfairly deprived, they are now mainly used to reduce Inheritance Tax.

To be effective, a DFA must be made in writing and signed by all of the beneficiaries who would lose entitlement to the affected part of the deceased person’s estate. If this affects any person under age eighteen, it may require the formal approval of the court.

We have considerable  experience in drawing up DFAs.

Although they can be very effective, they can also be complex, especially where trusts are used. The best solution is to leave a will that does not need to be changed. This is especially true since the Government is considering legislating against DFAs.


If you haven't updated your will recently, we recommend you check it: if it needs amendment, we will be pleased to assist.

James Tawse