Deeds of Variation- Your Last Will doesn’t have to be the final sayPepperells
A Deed of Variation is a legal document that enables the contents of a Will to be varied. The people who agree to the Deed of Variation are the current beneficiaries of the Estate as they are the ones relinquishing some or all of their share.
There are many reasons people wish to vary a Will, some examples are;
· To leave a gift to someone who is not currently a beneficiary,
· Leave money to a charity (this can assist with inheritance tax),
· The family circumstances may have changed since the Will was drafted and the Will does not reflect this. For example, the birth of another grandchild,
· To clarify any uncertainty within the Will,
· The intended beneficiary may not wish to receive the funds and pass them to someone who would benefit more. For example, they may be in a strong financial position and wish to pass the funds to someone who needs the financial support; and
· Amend the percentage distribution, this would maintain the original beneficiaries but amend the percentages they each receive.
Further, in the instance of intestacy (this is where the deceased has not left a Will) a Deed of Variation can be used to vary the people inheriting the estate. This would allow the estate to pass to people such as unmarried partners and friends who do not fall within the intestacy rules.
A Deed of variation can be made either before or after a Grant of Probate is obtained, and in some instances can be done after the estate has been distributed. However, if the Deed is being made for either inheritance or capital gains tax reasons, then this must be done within two years of the deceased death.
Whilst it may seem simpler for the intended beneficiary to pass their share to the new beneficiary without completing a Deed of Variation. This would be classed as a gift and it may result in inheritance tax implications for the intended beneficiary if they were to pass away within seven years of making the gift.
Once a Deed of Variation has been completed, it cannot be undone.
If you have any questions about Deeds of Variation please call Pepperells on 01724 871999 and ask to speak to a member of the Private Client Team.