Deeds of Variation / Retrospective Severance and Property Trusts

The beneficiaries and trustees of a deceased’s estate may wish to rearrange the disposition of the estate for a number of reasons, the main ones being either to redirect assets to those who are less well provided for or to save Inheritance Tax.  The deed of variation must be effected within two years of the deceased’s death.


Probate it is the legal authority to administer a deceased’s estate.  A Grant of Probate is an order of the Court giving one or more people the legal authority to administer the estate of the deceased in order to distribute it correctly to the beneficiaries and is required in the following situations:

  • When property is held in the sole name of the deceased or as tenants in common
  • When the deceased held assets typically worth £5,000 or more with financial institutions
  • When the financial institutions holding assets in the sole name of the deceased require a Grant of Probate for the funds to be released
  • When the deceased benefited from a trust during their lifetime

Probate involves a series of interdependent legal, tax and administrative activities that must be carried out in order for the estate to be administered correctly. It involves communication with many parties including the Court, HM Revenue and Customs, and all related financial institutions. Essentially it involves collecting all assets, settling all debts and tax liabilities and correctly distributing the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will or Rules of Intestacy. Care and attention must be taken to avoid mistakes being made at every stage in the process, as the Personal Representative is responsible and ultimately liable.

Probate Trusts

The Probate Trust can provide a person who needs continuing access to their capital the opportunity to make a lifetime gift into a trust for the purpose of speeding up the probate process.