Rogers & Norton News

Budget 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

One interesting point to note from Wednesday’s Budget is the government’s intention to scrutinise the use of ‘deeds of variation’ as the documents can help people avoid inheritance tax (IHT).  The move is part of the government’s plans to claw back money lost through tax avoidance, evasion and aggressive tax planning.

A deed of variation changes a will, or the rules of intestacy, after death and enables the beneficiaries of a deceased’s estate to alter the distribution of that estate, or relinquish a bequest from an estate. Of course, a deed of variation can be used to structure an estate in order to minimise, or remove, an IHT liability.  However, the motivation behind the creation of these documents is not always to save tax.  Deeds of variation can be used to make a gift to someone who has been left out of a Will or is not included in the rules of intestacy, or who has not received as much as he/she should have, to change the type of gift made in the Will or even to clarify an uncertainty or amend a defect in the Will. 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It is very rare though that we ever get the chance to benefit from it. Deeds of Variation are one of those very rare occasions.  However, they are now under threat.  If you are thinking of changing the distribution of an estate, you should take advice from a member of the Wills & Probate Team without delay. 

Contact our Wills & Probate team on 01603 675662 or email wills@rogers-norton.co.uk.