What is a Deed of Variation?

Posted: 19 September 2023

A Deed of Variation is a legal document which allows beneficiaries of a Will to amend the distribution of the Will or, in the case of intestacy, change the application of the intestacy rules to the estate.

Deed of variation

Reasons to use a Deed of Variation:
  • To make the estate more tax efficient by reducing the potential liability to inheritance tax or capital gains tax,
  • To safeguard the estate from potential care fees
  • To provide for someone who didn’t inherit,
  • To direct your share of the estate to someone of your choosing thereby reducing your own tax liability for lifetime gifting
  • To create or transfer assets into a trust,
  • To remove doubt or uncertainty in the Will.
What changes can you make?

You can only make changes to your own share of the inheritance, for example:

  • Redirect specific assets to different people,
  • Give away your whole entitlement,
  • Set up a trust.
When can I set up a Deed of Variation?

A Deed of Variation can be set up at any point after the death of the Testator even before a Grant of Probate is issued.

However, it must be created and signed by the relevant beneficiary within 2 years from the date of death.

What if there isn’t a Will?

If someone dies without a valid Will, they are said to be intestate and the rules of intestacy will apply to their estate. You may use a Deed of Variation to change how the estate has been divided up under the rules of intestacy. The beneficiaries may decide to alter their entitlement in order to:

  • Provide for someone who was not covered by the rules, for example an unmarried partner,
  • Distribute the estate more evenly between them,
  • Mitigate inheritance tax.
Do you need a solicitor for a Deed of Variation?

We would advise that it is best to discuss your wishes with one of our qualified Solicitors so they can assist you and draft a valid Deed of Variation document.

For more information or to make your appointment please contact our team today on team today on 01702 298282 or 01245 493959. Instructions can be taken by email, telephone, or face to face appointment in our offices.


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