Families are increasingly considering using a deed of variation to change the will of a loved one who has passed away, especially to help younger relations whose finances have been hit by the pandemic.

Paul Campion, a chartered financial planner at Succession Wealth, told This is Money: “We have seen a jump in the number of families wanting a deed of variation in the past year. This is due to an increase in unexpected deaths of older family members due to Covid.”

Mr Campion added that people may not have checked their will still reflects their wishes and the needs of their family.

“As a result, their family sometimes chooses to distribute assets in a different way to that set out in the will.”

Deeds of variation are also increasingly being used to redistribute assets between generations, commented Sarah Paton, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell: “People often inherit from their elderly parents when they are in their fifties or sixties. By that time, they are often financially comfortable, but they have children of their own who are more in need of support.

“A deed of variation can be used to give a fixed sum or a proportion of the estate directly to the grandchildren of the deceased instead of the children.’

Families have two years after a loved one has passed away to write a deed of variation to a will and all the family must agree to the change.

The document needs to be drafted by a solicitor and must be signed, witnessed and dated – with physical signatures (not electronic).