Under certain circumstances it may be desirable to change the will of a deceased person after their death. This will normally require a solicitor to draft the deed and will require the agreement of all of the beneficiaries and the executors of the will. Varying the will can be done before or after probate is obtained and is independent to obtaining a Grant of Representation. However, it must be done within two years of the death. The reasons that the beneficiaries or executors may wish to vary a will can include:
- To balance up bequests made to beneficiaries
- To utilise certain tax exemptions
- To pass assets down a generation where the named beneficiaries already have sufficient funds and do not wish to increase their own exposure to Inheritance Tax
- To put right an intention that the deceased had but had never addressed in their will
Deeds of variation are very effective but caution should be exercised where a named beneficiary is already in receipt of state means-tested benefits as the deed could be seen as a deprivation of income or capital by the benefit provider. This could possibly result in a withdrawal of the benefits. Under these circumstances it is recommended that full disclosure of the facts and prior approval of the benefit provider is sought.