Q&As

A married couple, H and W, died within a few months of each other, H dying first. They had made mirror Wills which provided that the residue of each estate would pass to children and adult grandchildren. Is it possible for the beneficiaries of H’s estate to enter into a deed of variation to pass H’s entire estate to W and thereby reduce the inheritance tax charge on H’s estate? If so, to what extent can W’s personal representatives claim any available nil rate band and/or transferable nil rate band? — 2022

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Last updated on 21/04/2022

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  • A married couple, H and W, died within a few months of each other, H dying first. They had made mirror Wills which provided that the residue of each estate would pass to children and adult grandchildren. Is it possible for the beneficiaries of H’s estate to enter into a deed of variation to pass H’s entire estate to W and thereby reduce the inheritance tax charge on H’s estate? If so, to what extent can W’s personal representatives claim any available nil rate band and/or transferable nil rate band?

A married couple, H and W, died within a few months of each other, H dying first. They had made mirror Wills which provided that the residue of each estate would pass to children and adult grandchildren. Is it possible for the beneficiaries of H’s estate to enter into a deed of variation to pass H’s entire estate to W and thereby reduce the inheritance tax charge on H’s estate? If so, to what extent can W’s personal representatives claim any available nil rate band and/or transferable nil rate band?

The original legatees of the estate may vary any dispositions made in their favour under the Will of a deceased person or the intestacy rules applicable to the deceased person’s estate. If the conditions set out in section 142 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (IHTA 1984) are met, the replacement legatees specified in the variation will be treated for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes as having directly received the legacy from the deceased at the date of death.

Similar reliefs apply for capital gains tax (see section 62(6) of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992) and stamp duty land tax (see paragraph 4 of Schedule 3 to the Finance Act 2003).

If the original legatees are the children and adult grandchildren who are absolutely entitled to the entire estate of the deceased and the value of the

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Key definition:
Mirror wills definition
What does Mirror wills mean?

Wills made in similar terms, for example between husband and wife.

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