A few weeks ago it was announced that Rik Mayall had died without leaving a Will or intestate. Fifty six is really young to die but Heart Attacks are a real risk at that age. Who knows why he didn’t leave a Will given his near miss on a quad bike in 1998 especially as I’m guessing that he had an Agent and others to advise him on his financial affairs.

Anyway, as it stands his estate will be primarily left according the Administration of Estates Act 1925 which will cause the whole family some real issues especially in tax liabilities.

Fortunately, there is an option and that’s the Deed of Variation of Intestacy England and Wales. This is a relatively inexpensive and quick document under the right circumstances. Expect to pay around £400 + vat for a straightforward one and considerably more if it gets complicated.

The consequences of not having a Will are well documented and can be read in my recent blog here.

What does a Deed of Variation do to help?

Assuming that all the negatively affected beneficiaries (i.e. they are giving up something by signing the Deed of variation) are over 18 and in agreement, then a Deed of Variation effectively writes (or re-writes) a Last Will for the person who died. When writing this Last Will you can allocate the estate how you want and include tax efficient devices. Sounds great doesn’t it. All very quick and cheap.


To be effective for tax purposes it has to be fully completed within two years. It can still be done after the two years but again this causes further problems if the children marry, get into a relationship or have potential creditors. This is where it gets complicated and in solicitor language that means EXPENSIVE.

Only people who are negatively affected i.e. lose money have to agree to the Deed of Variation. Others that don’t lose out aren’t relevant. However, if ALL those that are negatively affected don’t agree then the Deed of Variation is NOT valid.

What about children under 18 or adults who don’t have Mental Capacity? They cannot legally agree to a Deed of Variation so the matter would have to be referred to Court for approval. As well as the expense of it all, the Court would have to be convinced that it would be in the child’s (or person without capacity) best interest. That wouldn’t be easy if they are giving up something financial.

I guess that as all Rik Mayall’s family are adults and appear to have Capacity then all may not be lost in this case but why risk the complications and stress when you can get a quality Will written for the price of a weekend away. Get in touch if you want to sort out your Will.