wills and probate

Varying Wills After Death

on Friday, 23 March 2012. Posted in News, Wills, Trusts and Probate

It is not uncommon for a will to provide for a division of assets which is not the best way to distribute the estate at the time of the testator's death. In particular where the will was made many years before the death the family circumstances may have changed or the Inheritance Tax provisions have altered. In such cases, providing there is agreement amongst the beneficiaries, there is a statutory procedure by which the will can be treated as varied for most purposes. These "Deeds of Variation" may be beneficial in many circumstances.
Once in place the effect of such a document is as though the gift was made by the deceased under the terms of his will. However, four conditions must be satisfied:
  • The variation must be made in writing;
  • It must be made within two years of the date of death;
  • It must refer to the statutory provisions to which it is intended to apply; and
  • It must not be made for consideration (i.e. not part of a 'bargain').

The document must be signed in the appropriate form by the person or persons disposing of their interest under the will and all the deceased's personal representatives.

Such as document can also be used in situations where the deceased has died intestate (leaving no will). Provided the parties benefiting are all in agreement then the assets pf the estate can be redirected.

Although the arrangements are commonly referred to as 'varying the will', in reality what occurs is the making of a gift from one or more beneficiaries to one or more other beneficiaries. These documents cannot be used in certain situations but in all cases, it is important that appropriate professional advice is taken and we can help you with this.

Contact - Gendy Thomas

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