How can the deceased’s Will be altered?

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It is possible to change a person’s Will within 2 years of their death.

The change must be effected by a formal legal document known as a “Deed of Variation” or “Deed of Family Arrangement” and signed by the Executors or Administrators and/or the beneficiaries effected.

The Variation is treated as having been made by the deceased at the date of death.

Why change a Will after death?

  • To make the Will more tax efficient and reduce payment of inheritance tax or capital gains tax;
  • To give the inheritance to a younger generation, for instance children may already be well provided for and to reduce their future inheritance tax liability they may agree to redirect the gift to grandchildren;
  • To include a beneficiary that had been excluded at the time the Will was made because of a family disagreement but this has been resolved before death. If all the original beneficiaries agree, a new beneficiary can be included and family relationships can be restored;
  • To give effect to the deceased’s wishes which had not been included in the Will;
  • To include new grandchildren or other beneficiaries born after the Will was made;
  • To take into account the different financial circumstances of beneficiaries, so a gift is made larger or smaller to them.

When can the Will be changed?

At any time up to the second anniversary of the deceased’s death. After this date NO changes can be made.

There is no Will – can changes still be made?

If there is no Will the deceased has died intestate and the rules of intestacy apply. It is still possible to alter the rules of intestacy by a formal deed but only if all the original beneficiaries agree.

Do I have to tell anyone the changes have been made?

If the changes alter the Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax payable on death then the Tax Office (HMRC) need to be notified and the Deed of Variation must include reference to this.

What is the next step?

At Macks, we can advise on whether a change is required and, if so, prepare the draft document and attend upon its signature.

We strongly recommend a face-to-face meeting with one of our specialist Solicitors who will be able to explain in greater detail and advise you what to do. The initial meeting would be free of charge and will explain the assistance we can provide to carry out an effective change in the Will or rules of intestacy.

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