Deeds of Variation and Changing a Will After Death

Plus: Changing a Will After Death of the Deceased.

Do you need to change a will after death? We can assist you with reliable solicitors specialising in Deeds of Variation.

Changing a Will After Death & Deeds of Variation

What are the deeds of variation in the first place? In essence, they happen when beneficiaries want to alter a person’s will after their death. Thus, directing inheritance from a beneficiary and giving it to someone else or a charity. In fact, there is any number of reasons a recipient may want to do this. So it’s important to realize that Deeds of Variation enable them to do so in the most tax-effective way.

Changing the Beneficiaries of a Will

A common question we receive is why bother with a legal variation of a will? Why not just distribute the assets as the Testator wishes and then allow the beneficiary to give the asset to the chosen new recipient? A Deed of Variation can help recognise for a person insufficiently who didn’t get enough in a will.

For example, an ailing father draws up his will to leave equal shares of his estate to his three adult children. Yet one of them makes significant sacrifices to stay and look after him; meanwhile the other two move away to pursue careers.

In short, the other two siblings prosper financially. But the child who becomes the father’s carer can’t undertake more than temporary, low-income jobs. In recognition of this, the siblings apply for a Deed of Variation to leave their father’s house to that sibling. In turn, they split the balance of the estate into three equal parts.

Reduce the inheritance tax

A woman in her 70s who was already financially comfortable inherits a significant amount of money from her mother. As she had no foreseeable need for the money, she renounces her right and requests it go to her children immediately. They would inherit the money on her death anyway. Basically, she wants to avoid the possibility of the assets incurring two lots of inheritance tax.

To resolve an imbalance or unfairness in the distribution of assets.

Applying for a Deeds of Variation

Surely, a Deed of Variation doesn’t need to be sought before the issue of the Grant of Probate. Nevertheless, you’ll need to do it before the transfer of any assets to beneficiaries. Thus, you can avoid any complications with inheritance tax or capital gains tax situations.

You don’t need to go to court to arrange a variation of a will, either. In order to make it valid, a letter is sufficient, providing that it:

  • Clearly states the changes being made; and
  • Has the signature of all parties who are giving up their right to the asset.

Suppose the variation of the will affects the amount of inheritance tax the new beneficiary is liable for (taking the assets they inherit totalling more than £325,000). Consequently, you’ll need to inform the Inland Revenue so tax gets a correct assessment and sufficient payment.

Lest you think you’ve ample time and opportunity to do this, please note:

  • You can redirect assets only one time, and;
  • it must take place within two years of the Testator’s death.

The Inheritance Experts can help with any query you have about making a variation to a Will. That’s including any aspect of managing an estate. Such as writing a Will, applying for Probate, and managing executor disputes.

Call today to arrange a free initial consultation and ask about our No Win No Fee* agreements.


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