There is no obligation to accept an inheritance either under the terms of a Will, an intestacy or by right of survivorship. When an inheritance is not wanted a Deed of Variation can be used to redirect the inheritance to another beneficiary. Thus, a beneficiary who is entitled to part of a deceased person’s estate under a Will, intestacy or by right of survivorship can use a Deed of Variation to redirect the inheritance to another beneficiary of their choice.
Under the doctrine of survivorship where property is owned by two persons as joint tenants if one owner dies then their interest in the property passes to the survivor. Sometimes the surviving joint tenant may not want the property; in these circumstances the surviving joint can use a Deed of Variation to redirect the inheritance.
There are many reasons why beneficiaries may wish to vary or redirect assets held in a deceased person’s estate, one of the main reasons is to save Inheritance Tax.
When an original beneficiary uses a Deed of Variation in order to make some sort of gift and to redirect all or part of an inheritance, the gift, for Tax purposes, will be treated as having been made by the deceased person and not by the original beneficiary.
In certain situations a Deed of Variation may be used to avoid paying Inheritance Tax, provided that it is executed within two years of death.
If the Deed of Variation is executed within two years of death and contains a statement that it is intended that section 62(6) of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Tax Act 1992 should apply, in most cases the transfer will not constitute a disposal for capital gains tax purposes. It takes effect from the date of death and works as if the distribution of the deceased’s estate had incorporated the variation.
A Deed of Variation is not retrospective for Income Tax purposes. Any income which is payable to the original beneficiary after the death of the deceased, but before execution of the deed of variation, is taxable as the income of that beneficiary.
A Deed of Variation – Share of Joint Property Passing by Survivorship shall be used where the person receiving the inheritance owned property jointly with the deceased, acquired the deceased’s interest in the property by the right of survivorship and wishes to give that interest to some other person.
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