Variation of Will or intestacy after death
Variation of Will or intestacy after death

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Variation of Will or intestacy after death
  • Variations and other post-death rearrangements
  • Inheritance tax
  • Formalities for a variation
  • Operation of a variation
  • Capital gains tax
  • Stamp taxes and variations
  • Stamp duty land tax
  • Stamp duty
  • Stamp duty relief
  • more

Variations and other post-death rearrangements

Although the terms of a testator’s Will or the provisions applicable on intestacy cannot actually be altered by the beneficiaries of the estate, it is possible for those who would inherit under the Will or intestacy to enter into an instrument of variation (sometimes referred to as an instrument or deed of family arrangement) or other type of post-death rearrangement to alter the effect of the Will or intestacy. An original beneficiary can provide by way of a variation that any property that the operation of the Will or intestacy rules would otherwise give them instead passes to another person or persons.

Other common forms of post-death rearrangement include:

  1. disclaimers

  2. distributions pursuant to precatory trusts

  3. distributions from Will trusts

  4. claims under I(PFD)A 1975

The reason that the parties often choose to enter into a variation or other formal rearrangement after the testator’s death, rather than the original beneficiary simply giving away the asset as a lifetime gift, is that, subject to certain conditions, a variation and other types of post-death rearrangement can operate for tax purposes as though they were made by the deceased themselves.

This Practice Note focuses of variations of Wills and intestacy provisions made after the testator’s death. For information on other types of post-death rearrangements, see Practice Note: Post-death rearrangements.

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