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Read more articles in: Blog, Private Client, Rachel Blackburn

What is a deed of variation?

If you have been listed as a beneficiary in someone’s Will, you may feel responsible for the distribution of their estate.

A deed of variation is a legal document that allows an individual to change the terms of a Will.

It can be used to alter how assets are distributed after death, or even who inherits them.

When might you need a deed of variation?

This document is often used when there has been a major life event, such as marriage or divorce, which necessitates a change in the provisions of the Will.

A deed of variation must be signed by all parties involved in order to take effect.

It may also help to prevent disputes among family members by clearly outlining who should receive what property or asset after death.

You can use a deed of variation to pass inheritance onto the next generation or to redirect assets to a trust.

You can also use it to reduce inheritance tax payable by the estate or to compensate someone who has lost out.

How does a deed of variation work?

The deed must be executed by the original beneficiary as they will be making changes to their inheritance.

If the deed results in added Inheritance Tax (IHT) payment, the personal representative must also be a party to the deed.

For the deed to be effective for IHT and Capital Gains Tax (CGT), there are some conditions which must be met.

  • it must be made within two years of the date of death
  • it must be in writing
  • it must not be for money or money’s worth
  • it must include a statement of intent for the rewriting effect to apply for IHT and CGT

What if there is no Will?

If someone died without a Will, their estate will be subject to the rules of intestacy which means the law will decide who inherits. Should a beneficiary under the rules of intestacy wish to vary their entitlement, this can be done also by a Deed of Variation.

What if you want to make changes to a Will?

If there is a Will, changes must be made within 2 years of the death.

You can make changes to a Will which result in:

  • Reducing the amount of Inheritance or Capital Gains Tax
  • Provide for someone who was left out of a Will
  • Move the deceased’s assets into a trust

If you need advice on a deed of variation, contact us today.

Rachel Blackburn

Head of Wills, Probate and Older Client Services

I joined Mander Hadley’s Wills, Probate and Older Client Services Team in 2018.I specialise in the preparation of Wills, Probate and estate administration, trusts and trust administration and Lasting Powers of Attorney. I also have experience of care fee planning and appeals of Continuing Health Care decisions.

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