After someone dies, it is possible for the beneficiaries of their estate to make changes to the distribution of the estate, instead of following the terms of the will or the rules of intestacy, if they died without a will. This can be achieved using a Deed of Variation which must be signed within 2 years of the date of the death.
There may be circumstances following a death where the beneficiary in the will or those entitled to inherit under the rules of intestacy wish to change the way in which the estate is distributed. This would mean that the distribution of the estate no longer aligns with the terms of the will or the rules of intestacy.
Signing a deed of variation of an estate is done for various reasons, but the most common purpose is to make changes to the distribution of assets or to alter the provisions of a will or intestacy. Here are a few reasons why someone might choose to sign a deed of variation:
Tax planning: A deed of variation can be used to optimize the tax efficiency of an estate. By redistributing assets or changing the beneficiaries, it may be possible to reduce or eliminate certain tax liabilities, such as inheritance tax. This can be particularly useful if the original will or intestacy plan did not take advantage of available tax exemptions or allowances.
Family circumstances: Sometimes, the beneficiaries of an estate may wish to redistribute the assets to better reflect their current needs and circumstances. For example, if one beneficiary is in greater need of financial support, others may choose to vary the distribution to provide more for that individual. It can also be used to address changes in family dynamics, such as divorces, remarriages, or the birth of new family members.
Correcting errors or omissions: If there are mistakes or omissions in the original will or intestacy plan, a deed of variation can be used to rectify them. This ensures that the deceased’s intentions are fulfilled and that the estate is distributed according to their wishes.
Charitable giving: Some individuals may choose to redirect a portion of the estate to a charitable organization by signing a deed of variation. This allows them to support causes they care about while potentially benefiting from certain tax advantages associated with charitable giving.
It is important to note that signing a deed of variation should be done with careful consideration and should involve legal and financial advice. It is important to consult with a legal professional when considering a deed of variation , as they can guide you through the process, ensure that all the document is properly prepared and executed, and help you understand the legal implications involved.
Katherine Oakes is able to offer as free initial meeting to discuss your affairs.
Please note that the information provided is for guidance purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.