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deed of variation?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
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orwenorwen Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
Hi,

My parent suddenly passed away & I was their carer. My parent made their final will 2 years ago when they were fit & healthy, we both thought they'd live on for at least 5, 7 or even another 10 years. Sadly it was not to be - a sudden illness was to blame. Of siblings, I received the more in the will, perhaps unsurprisingly since I was my parent's sole carer.

My parent's will is now being challenged. The will was drawn up at the solicitor's office of the parent and is considered, quite rightly to be 'water tight'. However, my solicitor - since I am now obliged to seek one - has started talking in terms of a deed of variation.

I had no idea such deeds existed, I thought wills were practically written in stone. Apparently not. Yet why should I vary the parent's final wishes? This confuses me. Can anybody tell me what the solicitor might be driving at, I've been left to boggle over the weekend it seems - are there examples of cases of deeds of variation that might guide me at this stage please?

Worrying.

But thanks ;)
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Replies

  • orwen wrote: »
    Hi,

    My parent suddenly passed away & I was their carer. My parent made their final will 2 years ago when they were fit & healthy, we both thought they'd live on for at least 5, 7 or even another 10 years. Sadly it was not to be - a sudden illness was to blame. Of siblings, I received the more in the will, perhaps unsurprisingly since I was my parent's sole carer.

    My parent's will is now being challenged. The will was drawn up at the solicitor's office of the parent and is considered, quite rightly to be 'water tight'. However, my solicitor - since I am now obliged to seek one - has started talking in terms of a deed of variation.

    I had no idea such deeds existed, I thought wills were practically written in stone. Apparently not. Yet why should I vary the parent's final wishes? This confuses me. Can anybody tell me what the solicitor might be driving at, I've been left to boggle over the weekend it seems - are there examples of cases of deeds of variation that might guide me at this stage please?

    Worrying.

    But thanks ;)
    On what grounds is the will being challenged? This is usually only possible if a dependent has not been provided in the will. If all beneficiaries agree a DOV can be done to alter the will.
  • orwenorwen Forumite
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    On what grounds is the will being challenged?

    The other party was expecting more, based on an earlier will.
    This is usually only possible if a dependent has not been provided in the will. If all beneficiaries agree a DOV can be done to alter the will.

    Thanks, when you say a dependent, do you mean a child / someone under the age of 21 who was depending on the deceased please? In that case there are no dependants, all the offspring are adult; if anything I became dependent, giving up my career prospects to become a full time carer.

    Apologies if I have got the wrong end of the stick :-o
  • konarkkonark Forumite
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    If the will is simply being challenged because a relative thinks they deserve a bigger cut because they had one in an earlier will they are wasting their time.

    A Deed of Variation can only be done by beneficiaries of a will up to the extent of their bequest and with their full consent; why is your solicitor trying to persuade you to sign your legacy away? Do not sign any DOV, you are legally entitled to your full legacy.

    Who is the executor named on the will.? If it is you I would resist any pressure from your siblings to alter the will, the will is what your parent wanted, if they wanted to to leave your siblings more they would have done, you must respect your parent's wishes, morally and legally. If it is the original solicitor you may want to contact them.
  • orwen wrote: »
    The other party was expecting more, based on an earlier will.



    Thanks, when you say a dependent, do you mean a child / someone under the age of 21 who was depending on the deceased please? In that case there are no dependants, all the offspring are adult; if anything I became dependent, giving up my career prospects to become a full time carer.

    Apologies if I have got the wrong end of the stick :-o
    A financial dependent can be of any age. From what you say it is simply that someone just thinks they should get more that is not grounds for challenging the will. There have been some wholly exceptional cases but it is improbable that they apply here. Resist what is basically greed. The solicitor is not doing their job by suggesting you give in.
  • edited 31 October 2015 at 9:23AM
    SeniorSamSeniorSam Forumite
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    edited 31 October 2015 at 9:23AM
    Orwen, you have the answers you were looking for, but who is challenging the Will?

    You are not obliged to have a solicitor, nor are you obliged to obtain a Deed of Variation unless YOU would like the Will changed. THis can only be done by a Court Order if you do not agree to a change, so the person or persons wishing to change the Will would have to take this matter to the Court and I would doubt very much if they would be successful.

    The Deed of Variation has to be done within two years of death, otherwise it cannot be changed, but usually, this is done for tax changes or because the beneficiary prefers to have their children benefit rather rthn themselves. How many siblings do you have?

    Sam
    I'm a retired IFA who specialised for many years in Inheritance Tax, Wills and Trusts. I cannot offer advice now, so my comments are just meant to be helpful.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    The solicitor will be talking about this because it is one option you have. If for instance you personally think your share is higher than it should have been then you can voluntarily give up part of your inheritance. It also might prevent long drawn out legal action or long term bad feeling amoung siblings (I am assuming it is a brother or sister challenging this)

    The only other reason I can think of for a challenge is undue influence, but from what you have told us that also seems doomed to fail, so if you think the will fair then stick to your guns and see out the challenge.
  • orwenorwen Forumite
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    Many thanks, there were two solicitors, a family solicitor and my new solicitor. The family solicitor wanted to take the case forward but they are compromised because my sibling has cast his own doubts on their drawing up my parent's will. They advised me to find a neutral solicitor, which I have now done. It is the new solicitor who has introduced the idea of varying the will, and this begins to alarm me. Of my own inclination I could do this 'as a gesture of good will' fine, but when the solicitor starts the variation ball rolling - I always thought a solicitor fought the client's corner - it sounds like they're already preparing to give up without a fight? Not that I want a fight, but cripes - I didn't start this awful business in the first place!

    My parent seems to have weighted their final will in my favour, possibly because they knew if anything happened to them - and it sadly did - I'd be high and dry. My (one) sibling owns property and has a pension, has a spouse who also has a pension, they are set fair. My future is still uncertain, despite being bequeathed more in the will.

    The new solicitor has taken on board the fact that I am grieving but seems to be using that in order to say, 'Don't put yourself through any more, why not settle up?' This infuriates me beyond words, I want to stay as true as I can to the will, the final wishes, I'm almost getting ready to take my solicitor to court over this!

    It's early days, they left me to stew over the weekend - never a good situation to be in. Come Monday they might return to me with a different scenario, but I am having a hard time right now, I am actually deeply disappointed with the new solicitor's apparent willingness to 'liaise' when there is nothing to liaise about. The will was drawn up by a solicitor and witnessed at a solicitor's office two years ago. If that is not good enough today then there is no point any of us drawing up a will, ever, because someone can just come along, dispute it, suggest a variation order, change it: fiasco.

    I do accept the will favours me, the other party has not been left out of the will by any means. My situation is not as fraught as it could have been, so I may be amenable to making a token variation to smooth the waters, but if that is rejected I am absolutely prepared to defend the will to the end, I cannot but do otherwise. But will I have my new solicitor on my side? That's what's really worrying me now - I've already had to pay them an 'upfront' and now they seem to be wriggling - not at all what I expected.

    The family solicitor were excellent but they suggested the new solicitor. If I haven't had an acceptable reply from the new solicitor, or if they overly mention varying the will again, I will contact the family solicitor and complain about the treatment I am receiving. And take it from there.

    Many, many thanks for these positive, helpful replies :A I was starting to get quite despondent I don't mind telling you.
  • orwen wrote: »
    Many thanks, there were two solicitors, a family solicitor and my new solicitor. The family solicitor wanted to take the case forward but they are compromised because my sibling has cast his own doubts on their drawing up my parent's will. They advised me to find a neutral solicitor, which I have now done. It is the new solicitor who has introduced the idea of varying the will, and this begins to alarm me. Of my own inclination I could do this 'as a gesture of good will' fine, but when the solicitor starts the variation ball rolling - I always thought a solicitor fought the client's corner - it sounds like they're already preparing to give up without a fight? Not that I want a fight, but cripes - I didn't start this awful business in the first place!

    My parent seems to have weighted their final will in my favour, possibly because they knew if anything happened to them - and it sadly did - I'd be high and dry. My (one) sibling owns property and has a pension, has a spouse who also has a pension, they are set fair. My future is still uncertain, despite being bequeathed more in the will.

    The new solicitor has taken on board the fact that I am grieving but seems to be using that in order to say, 'Don't put yourself through any more, why not settle up?' This infuriates me beyond words, I want to stay as true as I can to the will, the final wishes, I'm almost getting ready to take my solicitor to court over this!

    It's early days, they left me to stew over the weekend - never a good situation to be in. Come Monday they might return to me with a different scenario, but I am having a hard time right now, I am actually deeply disappointed with the new solicitor's apparent willingness to 'liaise' when there is nothing to liaise about. The will was drawn up by a solicitor and witnessed at a solicitor's office two years ago. If that is not good enough today then there is no point any of us drawing up a will, ever, because someone can just come along, dispute it, suggest a variation order, change it: fiasco.

    I do accept the will favours me, the other party has not been left out of the will by any means. My situation is not as fraught as it could have been, so I may be amenable to making a token variation to smooth the waters, but if that is rejected I am absolutely prepared to defend the will to the end, I cannot but do otherwise. But will I have my new solicitor on my side? That's what's really worrying me now - I've already had to pay them an 'upfront' and now they seem to be wriggling - not at all what I expected.

    The family solicitor were excellent but they suggested the new solicitor. If I haven't had an acceptable reply from the new solicitor, or if they overly mention varying the will again, I will contact the family solicitor and complain about the treatment I am receiving. And take it from there.

    Many, many thanks for these positive, helpful replies :A I was starting to get quite despondent I don't mind telling you.
    Don't lose heart and don't be bullied by anyone. The others have no chance of overturning the will from what you have told us. Good luck.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Don't lose heart and don't be bullied by anyone. The others have no chance of overturning the will from what you have told us. Good luck.

    And find a new solicitor.
  • orwenorwen Forumite
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    And find a new solicitor.

    Am phoning the original family solicitor - or even popping in on Monday - to let them know what's going on, I think they may be astonished :-o

    Otherwise, I really am hoping that I am over-reacting to this variation order suggestion,
    sure it's a possible, but anything's a possible, why start proceeding down this path from practically the word go?

    Odd
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