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What Is A Deed of Variation?

A deed of variation is an interesting document. It is awarded when it can be proved that the testator had meant to include something or someone in his or her will but neglected to, leading to an issue between family members or other people who may have assumed that they would inherit some or all of the deceased’s estate.

It can be used as a method of post-death planning, and can in fact change the testator’s will as long as there is enough evidence. This action might be required because the intended recipient chooses not to take their part of the estate, or perhaps would rather it went to their children or grandchildren instead. It could also be used if there is a way to save on inheritance tax by awarding the estate in another way.

It is potentially a difficult document to obtain because proving that the testator made an error when they are no longer here to say yes or no is a hard burden of proof.

There are some important requirements that need to be met in order to be awarded the deed of variation (or deed of family arrangement as it can sometimes be called). Firstly, it must be completed within two years of the death of the testator. Anyone who wishes to make a variation must be under 18 (although if they are under 18 they can seek the consent of the court). It is possible to obtain more than one deed of variation within those two years after death, but each asset can only be named in one.

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