Caroline Flack – Intestacy Rules to be Varied
10 February 2021 by Lauren Hancock
When we make a Will, we often do so on the assumption that, after we pass away this cannot be changed.
It may surprise you to find out that this is not the case. It is possible to vary the terms of a deceased’s Will after their passing, by executing what is known as a “Deed of Variation”. Similarly, the intestacy rules, which apply when someone dies without a Will can be altered with the agreement of all beneficiaries, by using the same document.
Caroline Flack’s family to alter terms of her Will
The possibility of varying a Will received national attention last year when the parents of TV personality Caroline Flack stated that they would be altering the terms of her Will to leave her Estate to a number of charities.
Caroline Flack, the well-known presenter of Love Island, tragically took her own life on the 15th February 2020. Caroline did not have a Will in place and therefore the rules of intestacy applied to her Estate. Under these rules, Caroline’s parents, Christine and Ian, are each entitled to a 50% share in Caroline’s Estate. Despite this, Caroline’s mother has reportedly stated “‘We will use the money wisely to help good causes that Caroline was passionate about.”
Many questioned how this was possible, given that the rules of intestacy are quite clear as to who will inherit where there is no valid Will in place. The answer, a Deed of Variation. In instances where all beneficiaries, or potential beneficiaries, agree to vary their interest in an Estate they can do so utilising a Deed of Variation.
What is a Deed of Variation?
Where this type of deed is utilised, the law will consider that the relevant asset passed direct to the new beneficiary or beneficiaries under the terms of the Will or Intestacy. For many, this type of arrangement can be utilised to limit inheritance tax liability. For example, in Caroline’s case, there would be no inheritance tax payable on any charitable gifts.