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Deeds of variation

After someone has died a person can redirect some or all of their Inheritance by a Deed of Variation. This is the case regardless of whether the deceased person left a Will or not (dying intestate).

Once signed the Variation treats the redirected gift as having been made by the deceased rather than the person who has given up their right to the money or item.

The person affected by the redirection must agree to it and sign the Deed. They must be capable of consenting, so must have mental capacity and be aged 18 or over. Any application that affects someone without capacity or who is under the age of 18 will require consent of the Court. Deeds of Variation will need to be completed within two years of a person’s death to have the desired tax outcomes, so do not wait too long before contacting us.

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Why use it? 

A Deed of Variation is often used so that an individual can redirect their inheritance to another person without it potentially being taxed twice. Variations apply for Inheritance Tax purposes and usually for Capital Gains Tax purposes but not for any other tax.

Deeds of Variation also have other uses, such as:

  1. To provide for someone who has been left out of the Will;
  2. Changing how someone benefits from an estate (such as to convert a life interest to an outright interest);
  3. To redirect a deceased’s share in a jointly-owned asset, such as a share of a house or flat, that would otherwise pass to the surviving joint owner.
  4. To re-balance the interests in an estate where one person has not received the same amount as others.


When to do it? 

A Variation can be completed at any time but to receive the Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax benefits it must be completed within 2 years of a death.

The Variation can be completed before or after Probate is granted and even if the estate has already been distributed.

A Variation does not need to be registered unless it affects the amount of Inheritance Tax due in which case it needs to be registered with HMRC.



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