Personal Legal Services

Deed of Variation

A Deed of Variation allows beneficiaries to redirect their inheritance better to reflect the family's current needs and wishes, even after the Will has been executed.

At Garratts, our experienced wills & probate solicitors specialise in crafting Deeds of Variation, providing flexible solutions not just for the affluent but for anyone looking to optimise their inheritance in a tax-efficient and meaningful way.


What is a Deed of Variation, and why might you need one?

A Deed of Variation, sometimes known as a family arrangement, enables beneficiaries of a deceased's estate to alter the distribution of that estate or redirect their inheritance to other individuals or trusts. This tool is particularly useful for addressing changes in circumstances or wishes that were not anticipated when the Will was made.

The significance of a Deed of Variation lies in its ability to allow families to adapt to their evolving needs, ensuring that assets are distributed in a way that maximises benefit to all parties involved. It can also be a strategic tool for tax planning, reducing inheritance tax or capital gains tax liabilities.


How can a Deed of Variation benefit you and your family? 

A Deed of Variation offers a unique opportunity to reshape the distribution of an estate to better align with your family's current needs and values, providing benefits such as tax efficiency, support for loved ones, and charitable giving.

  • Tax optimisation: A Deed of Variation, by thoughtfully reallocating inheritance with tax consequences in mind, can reduce the overall tax liability for both the estate and its beneficiaries, potentially resulting in considerable financial savings.
  • Providing for others: It allows for the inclusion of family members or dependents who were not named in the Will or whose circumstances have changed since the Will was written, ensuring they are adequately provided for.
  • Charitable donations: Beneficiaries can choose to redirect part of their inheritance to a charity, which can be both a fulfilling gesture and a tax-efficient decision.


What does a Deed of Variation cost? 

Garratts offers transparent pricing, with Deeds of Variation typically starting from £350 plus VAT. The process can take several weeks to a few months, depending on the complexity and the need for tax authority approvals.

Please review our Wills and Probate Fees for detailed information on our fees and to discuss how a Deed of Variation can benefit your specific situation.


How long does the process take?

The process of drafting and implementing a Deed of Variation generally takes between a few weeks to several months. The exact timeframe can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Agreement with beneficiaries: Coordinating the Deed of Variation process and obtaining all necessary consents can be time-consuming, especially if beneficiaries have differing views or if they are geographically dispersed.
  • Tax considerations: If the Deed of Variation has tax implications, such as for inheritance tax or capital gains tax, it may require additional time to ensure that all tax-related aspects are adequately addressed. This might include consultations with tax advisors or the need to obtain clearance from tax authorities.
  • Legal formalities: The deed must be drafted to comply with legal requirements, signed by all relevant parties, and sometimes witnessed. This legal process, including the drafting and review of the document, can add to the overall timeframe.
  • Professional advice: Seeking professional legal advice is crucial to ensure the Deed of Variation is executed correctly. The time taken to consult with solicitors, like those at Garratts, and possibly other professionals, such as accountants or financial advisors, can also influence the timeline.


What documents do I need?

When preparing a Deed of Variation, several key documents are typically required to ensure the process is smooth and compliant with legal standards. Here is a basic list of documents you might need:

  1. The Will: Keep a copy of the deceased's Will on hand. This is crucial for comprehending the initial distribution plan of the estate.
  2. Grant of probate or letters of administration: These documents confirm the legal authority of the executors or administrators to manage the estate.
  3. Financial records: Information on the estate's assets and liabilities at the time of passing is crucial for grasping the extent of the estate subject to variation.
  4. Identification documents: Beneficiaries and executors involved in the Deed of Variation will need to provide identification, typically including photo ID and proof of address.
  5. Tax returns: If the estate has made any tax returns, these might be relevant, especially if the Deed of Variation has tax implications.
  6. Details of the beneficiaries: Contact information and identification for all beneficiaries affected by the Deed of Variation.
  7. Agreement of all beneficiaries: Written consent from all beneficiaries who are affected by the changes proposed in the Deed of Variation.

For assistance, contact us at 0161 665 3502 or through our online enquiry form. Let us help you navigate the legal requirements with ease.


Why choose Garratts for Deed of Variation advice?

Opting for Garratts means you gain access to a team of solicitors who are not only experts in their field but also deeply understand the sensitivities involved in estate planning. We're committed to providing tailored advice that respects your family's wishes and maximises the benefits of your inheritance.

Ready to explore how a Deed of Variation can work for you? Contact Garratts for a no-obligation consultation. Reach out to us at 0161 665 3502 or request a callback. Let us help you ensure that your inheritance serves the best interests of you and your loved ones.


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