Deeds of variation

Deeds of Variation (changing a Will after death)

Usually, after someone dies, their assets will be distributed to their beneficiaries. If they had a Will, the estate would be distributed by the terms set out in the Will. If there is no Will, the distribution will be determined by the rules of intestacy.

However, there may be times when the beneficiaries would like to make a change to the way in which the estate is split. This includes:

  • Adding someone as a beneficiary who has been excluded from the Will
  • In order to maximise tax benefits
  • If someone is considering divorce, they may decide to divert the assets to prevent the inheritance from entering into the financial settlement
  • If the deceased doesn’t have a Will and the estate is to be distributed by the intestacy rules it may mean that only certain relatives benefit from the inheritance and they may wish to share it more equally amongst close friends, stepchildren etc

Changing the distribution of an estate

Sometimes referred to as a deed of family arrangement, a Deed of Variation allows the beneficiaries named in the Will to make a change to how an estate is distributed. It also allows existing beneficiaries to add new beneficiaries to the estate.

While it is possible to write a Deed of Variation yourself, there could be complex legal and tax implications if it isn’t done correctly, and it is always advisable to take legal advice. It is also important to note that the variation must be made within two years of the death.

How we can help

Our Private Client team have years of experience and can advise you on the best course of action when changing the distribution of an estate. To discuss how to change a Will after death with a specialist solicitor, contact our Leeds, Sheffield or York offices by calling 0333 323 5292 or by filling in the enquiry form on this page and requesting a call back.

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