Sneaky! Changing Who Gets What in a Will

Three reasons for altering a will are, to correct a mistake, to put right an injustice, or to reduce the tax liability of the estate:

Sneaky! Changing Who Gets What in a WillCorrecting a mistake. If the wording of the will is ambiguous or a mistake is made, as an executor you can ask the court to rectify the will. However, the court won't just take your word that a mistake has occurred. You must provide the court with other evidence such as a letter you have from the deceased, or a sworn statement from someone saying that the testator made a contrary statement of intent.

Sneaky! Changing Who Gets What in a WillRighting a wrong. Perhaps the deceased has not provided enough for a dependant. In the interests of natural justice or to simply avoid a will challenge, the executors and the beneficiaries can alter who gets what. You can do this through a deed of variation, sometimes called a deed of family arrangement. If you want to draw up a deed, see a solicitor.

Sneaky! Changing Who Gets What in a Will

A deed of variation is a very complex device and should not be entered into without first taking legal advice.

Sneaky! Changing Who Gets What in a WillReducing tax. The inheritance tax liability may have been settled at the time probate was granted, but guess what? You do have a chance of some comeback. You can draw up a deed of variation and re-jig who gets what in the will to reduce the IHT bill. You can also keep to a minimum any possible future inheritance liability – for example, on the death of the testator's spouse. Once a deed of variation is drawn up and agreed to by the beneficiaries it's time to let Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) know what the new arrangement is. Fingers crossed, a tasty tax rebate could result!

Under tax rules, no beneficiary is allowed to receive payment in cash or kind for agreeing to give up their inheritance through a deed of variation.

Sneaky! Changing Who Gets What in a Will

Your executors and beneficiaries can enter into a deed of variation provided that its terms don't reduce the share of any beneficiary under 18. If a child is involved, then you must seek the consent of the courts to the deed of variation.

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