Probate Solicitors Limited - Deeds of Variation\Family Arrangement

Varying a will after death

When someone dies, their estate has to be distributed according to their wishes as expressed in their will or in accordance with the laws of intestacy if there is no will.

However there may be tax or personal reasons why this may not be desirable. For instance an adult child may prefer some or all of their share to go directly to their children (i.e. the deceased's grand-children) .

Obviously they could just give their children a gift out of their inheritance but this would be caught as a potentially exempt transfer for Inheritance Tax purposes and could be taxed later (40% at 2011 rates) if they do not survive seven years.

If all the beneficiaries agree then it is often possible to enter what is called a deed of family arrangement whereby all the parties agree to re-write the will so that it distributes the estate as they would wish.

There are several provisos:-

1. All the beneficiaries must agree, or at least all those that are affected. This can be problematic when a charity is involved as they are not always amenable.

2. It is better and sometimes essential to do this BEFORE applying for probate of the Will.

3. You must normally do this WITHIN TWO YEARS of the date of death.

This is a technical area and there are both legal and tax implications to consider before entering such a deed. It can also be quite a time-consuming and lengthy process so get legal advice as early as you can before it is too late.

If you would like to consider a deed of variation please contact us on 01564 758055

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