Something belated comes after the fact. If you are late to deliver a birthday greeting, then make it a "happy belated birthday" card.

Belated Christmas gifts come after December 25. Belated birthday greetings are still sweet, but a belated New Year's Eve party? Sort of pointless. Belated can refer to less effective actions when used in more significant settings — consider "a belated push to secure tax breaks for the working poor" or "a belated apology for indiscretions committed during the senator's scandalous college years."

Definitions of belated
  1. adjective
    after the expected or usual time; delayed
    “a belated birthday card”
    synonyms: late, tardy
    not punctual; after the appointed time
Word Family