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There are many reasons as to why an executor may wish to make decisions that override a will. Perhaps the will is out of date, someone has been left out, or the beneficiaries agree that the terms should be changed. However, no matter what the circumstances are, the executor cannot simply override the terms of the will - there could be very serious consequences.

Obligation to administer the estate in line with the terms of the will 

The executor of an estate has a legal duty to administer the deceased’s estate in line with the law and the terms of the will. It is important that the deceased’s wishes are followed as closely as possible, as there could be serious consequences for an executor who attempts to override the terms of a will. 

If a beneficiary of a will feels that they have not received what they are due under the deceased’s will, they have a legal right to challenge the executor’s decisions. Executors can be held personally liable for failing to adhere to the terms of the will - even where their intentions were genuine, or they made a mistake. If you are in doubt, it is best to seek legal advice. 

Can you change a will after someone has passed away? 

If the executors and beneficiaries agree that it is not quite suitable to follow the will for one reason or another, it is possible to change the terms of a will after a person has passed away. 

Common reasons families wish to change the terms of a will include if: 

  • One or more beneficiaries do not need all of their share of the estate and wish to give it to someone else
  • A beneficiary would like all or part of their inheritance to go to charity
  • Children or grandchildren born after the will was drafted have been left out 
  • The family agrees that the distribution of the estate should be different or more equal 
  • There is a more tax-efficient way for the estate to be distributed. 

There are several conditions which must be met in order to change the will and the legal process is reasonably straightforward. The changes are recorded in a legal document referred to as a Deed of Variation. 

Wilson & Fish Expert Executry and Probate Solicitors Glasgow, Scotland

If you need assistance with executry services, contact us today on 0141 222 7951 or request a callback by filling in our online enquiry form. Our solicitors can provide expert advice from on any aspects of Executries or Probate


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