Has your loved one recently passed away, leaving everything to you, and you are now the sole owner of your property? Are you worried that, in the future, the full value of your property could be subject to third party claims? If the answer to both questions is yes then there is something you could do.
Rebecca Taylor, wills and probate lawyer at Ansons Solicitors in Lichfield, explains how a deed of variation can be used to solve this problem.
The terms of a person’s will are usually prepared carefully and with the best of intentions. But sometimes, the period that elapses between a person making a will and their death can be lengthy. In that time circumstances can change significantly. As a result, even though the estate is being dealt with in accordance with your loved one’s wishes, this can cause problems if the terms of the will no longer fit family circumstances.
This problem can be solved by a deed of variation, a written document varying the terms of the will. You can change the terms of your share of the estate in the will, so that the interest in your property you would have received passes into a trust, with the ultimate beneficiaries of that trust being your family members – usually your children.
You continue to own your half share in the property and have a life interest in the other half share. This would mean that if your estate becomes subject to third party claims, then only your share of the property will be vulnerable.
You must sign the deed of variation within two years of the date of your loved one’s death and you can only vary your entitlement under the will. The title deeds to the property must also be updated to transfer your loved one’s share of the property into the names of the trustees, who are usually named in the will.
It is then held on trust for the ultimate beneficiaries until your death. You will still be able to live in the property for as long as you wish, or sell it if you need to with the trustees agreement. A grant of probate is not required to complete this process. So if you have been able to deal with the rest of your loved one’s estate without one, then you will not have to incur further expenses to obtain a grant.
If you think that this situation applies to you and you would like to discuss in more detail, please get in touch with our wills and probate department to arrange a confidential 30 minute consultation, free of charge.
Please contact Rebecca Taylor on 01543 267193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ansons Solicitors has offices in Cannock and Lichfield, Staffordshire.