If you have not created a will yet, this is something that you should prioritize as it can help protect your estate and ensure your loved ones receive the inheritance you would like to leave them. However, you may not realize that a will can be modified after the passing of the creator. Though this is no easy process, the beneficiaries may be able to change a will. Keep reading to learn how this is possible and how a Rockland County will attorney can help you navigate this process.


Though uncommon, there are a number of reasons a beneficiary may want to change the terms and conditions listed in a will. Most commonly, this is because a beneficiary would like to decline their share of the inheritance left to them or a group of beneficiaries would like to change how the estate is distributed.

If a beneficiary would like to decline the portion of the estate left to them by the creator, they will need to sign a deed of disclaimer. By signing a deed of disclaimer, the beneficiary acknowledges that they are relinquishing their right to receive the portion of the estate left to them, and they do not care who receives it. Their share of the inheritance will go to the residuary estate. It is important to note that if a beneficiary wishes to decline a gift, they must relinquish the entire portion. For example, if they are left $100,000, they cannot only accept $10,000 and turn down the rest.

The next most common occurrence as to why someone would want to change an estate plan is because they believe someone was left out or received an unfair amount. Generally, this occurs if a child or grandchild is born, and the will’s creator did not have time to amend it before passing. However, if a group of siblings feels that one inherited a smaller portion of the estate, they may all agree to split their inheritance fairly. In order to do this, all beneficiaries impacted by the change must agree and sign a deed of variation.


While most of the time, it is not an issue to change a will, there are a few circumstances in which there could be an issue. These include the following situations:

  • One of the beneficiaries whose portion of the estate would be impacted is under 18
  • Not all of the beneficiaries impacted agree to the terms of the deed of variation
  • Someone not named in the will tries to modify the terms of the document
  • Someone tries to change the named executor or guardians listed in the will

If none of these stipulations apply, you can likely proceed with the modification of terms in a will.

When you have questions or concerns about the estate planning process, the Lauterbach Law Firm is here to help. Our experienced legal team has the knowledge necessary to guide you through this complex process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.