Generally, we think that there are two routes –
- A person creates a Last Will and Testament, bequeathing their estate, gifts and goods to friends, family and charities.
- Or a person dies without making a will – intestate – and their family shares the estate as the Government states under the Rules of Intestacy. When a person has died without leaving a will and without known entitled relatives, the estate ultimately passes to the Crown.
You might not know, but a person’s will can be changed after their death, provided any beneficiaries who would be disadvantaged by the changes agree. If there is no will the law decides who inherits but it is also possible to make changes to the inheritance in the same way as if a will was in existence. Any changes to a will or the rules of intestacy must be completed within 2 years of the death.
You could change a will to –
- Reduce the amount of Inheritance or Capital Gains Tax payable on the estate
- Provide for someone who was left out of the will originally
- Move the deceased’s assets into a trust
- Clear up any uncertainty over the will
- To make the distribution of the will more tax efficient
To change a Will, you will need to make a variation.
You don’t need a formal document or deed – you can write a letter as long as it meets these 11 conditions.
If the variation means there’s more Inheritance Tax to pay on the estate, you must send a copy to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 6 months of making the change(s).
You do not need to send a copy to HMRC if the variation does not change the amount of Inheritance Tax due.
Talk to our team about how we can help you if you need to make changes to a will before or after a loved one has passed away. Call or email us to make an appointment – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01789 772955.
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