There is an assumption that you cannot change a Will after someone has passed away. That is technically incorrect. A Will solicitor can help you prepare a deed of variation. This can be very useful in saving money if estate planning was not carried out during the deceased’s lifetime or the deceased's circumstances changed after making their Will.
The private client team at Solomons Solicitors can help answer your questions on how a deed of variation can be a tax-efficient and effective device in the right circumstances.
Contact our team today to find out how we can help you.
How can you change a Will after death?
A Will can be changed after death by a private client solicitor preparing a deed of variation. The document can also be referred to as a deed of family arrangement. There are several reasons why you may want to change a Will after a testator has passed away. If you are unsure if a deed of variation is the best option in your circumstances speak to a Will solicitor.
Who can vary a Will after death?
A deed of variation can be drawn up if a deceased died leaving a Will or if the deceased died without making a Will (called dying intestate). Who can vary a Will after death depends on the nature of the proposed variation. For example, the agreement of all the executors or all the beneficiaries named in the Will is unnecessary if the variation only affects one beneficiary.
Will solicitors are often asked if a Will can be varied when a grandparent has passed away leaving their estate to their adult child without leaving a legacy to grandchildren. If the adult child is now comfortably off, they may not want to receive their inheritance because it will ultimately add to the inheritance tax bill on their estate when they pass away. The testator's grandchildren may benefit from a deed of variation to help with a deposit on a house or to move to a larger family home. Whilst the beneficiary could have made lifetime gifts to the grandchild a deed of variation is potentially far more IHT efficient.
The advantages of a deed of variation
A deed of variation is not reserved solely for situations where with a deed of family arrangement a deceased’s Will or the intestacy rules can be adjusted to reduce the IHT or CGT liability payable by the deceased’s estate or the beneficiary’s estates. A deed can also be useful where:
- The deceased did not leave a legacy to a family member – the deceased may have named their four grandchildren in their Will but forgotten to update it on the birth of their fifth grandchild.
- The Will is being challenged in an estate dispute as a claimant says they were not left reasonable financial provision in the Will and this is accepted by the beneficiaries.
- The deceased died intestate and under the intestacy rules the deceased’s unmarried partner does not receive a share of the estate.
- A beneficiary wants to give some of their legacy to a charity. This option can also make a Will more tax efficient.
Time limits on deeds of variation
A deed of variation can be made within two years of the deceased's date of death. If you are thinking about varying a Will or the operation of intestacy rules it is best to take professional advice from a specialist Will solicitor to explore the options.
Speak to our Bournemouth-based Will Solicitors today
Solomons Solicitors can help you with all your deed of variation, probate, and estate planning needs making sure you understand your options and you have the legal paperwork you need to provide peace of mind.