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What is a Deed of Variation?

A deed of variation is a document that the executors or administrators of an estate can prepare and sign off on, in order to alter the distribution of an estate. There are two main types of deed of variation – one to alter intestacy, and another to alter a person’s will after their death. Deeds of Variation are most commonly undertaken in order to mitigate the tax burden on estates that are liable for inheritance tax but they can be used to settle probate disputes.

There are a lot of different elements involved in drawing up the most appropriate deed of variation, but Probate a Will can help with all of them, with fees starting from just £195 (plus VAT).

If you would like to talk to use about drawing up a deed of variation, call us from your landline free of charge on 0800 612 6105, or from your mobile at local rate on 020 8150 2010.

When Deeds of Variation are Required?

If your loved one died intestate (without leaving a will) the estate they left behind must be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. This has several implications, just one of which is that the spouse of the deceased is limited by an upper ceiling in terms of the level of inheritance that they may receive.

This can cause potential hardship for the remaining partner, and in this case a Deed of Variation of Intestacy can be created, in order to alter the level of inheritance that the surviving spouse will receive.

The best way to avoid causing complications and associated administration costs after one’s death is of course to leave a will, as creating a Deed of Variation can be rather expensive for advice on a deed of variation or general probate advice we can assist.

There are other very good reasons for leaving a will too; for instance, if an estate was to pass into intestacy and there is a need to create a Deed of Variation, this cannot be undertaken if the deceased left behind children under the age of eighteen. This is because these children will of course be beneficiaries of the estate too, and in order to create a Deed of Variation, all of the beneficiaries must be in agreement.

Children under the age of eighteen are not permitted to consent to the creation of a Deed of Variation, which can have implications for both the children themselves and the other beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate.

Paying More Inheritance Tax

If the estate falls above the nil rate band (£325,000 as of April 2009) and no will is left, the estate will pass into intestacy, which limits the value of the assets that the deceased’s spouse can receive to the first £250,000. However, if the spouse inherits this full amount as per the rules of intestacy, they will immediately become liable for an inheritance tax bill of 40%, which is not small change by anyone’s reckoning.

However, this is totally avoidable with a deed of variation-inheritance tax is not payable between spouses, and so a deed of variation could be created in order to mitigate this tax bill. This is only the case if the deceased did not leave behind any children under the age of eighteen, due to the caveat outlined above-and the only alternative to this is a lengthy and potentially expensive court battle with the Inland Revenue themselves.

If all of this sounds rather daunting, not to mention concerning, it is best to find out more about the exact remit of the law as regards your own personal situation, and the estate concerned. Probate a Will are qualified expert professionals in the field, and we can provide you with up to date, accurate and empathic advice and support that is of course tailored to match your exact circumstances.

For further information without obligation, call to speak to one of our friendly, professional qualified advisors free from landlines on 0800 612 6105.

Deed of Variation
User Rating
5 based on 22 votes
Service Type
Deed of Variation
Provider Name
IWC Probate & Will Services,
Suite 3, 9-13 Bocking End,Braintree,Essex-CM7 9AE,
Telephone No.020 8150 2010
Nationwide service
Deed of Variation a document that can be created to alter the distribution of a deceased persons estate, if entered into within two years of death, the deed of variation can be used to alter the tax position of a deceased person's estate. Should not however be used to deliberately deprivate a person to receive state related benefits.

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