Multiple NRBs

I’m preparing a Will for a lady who has been married three times. Her first marriage ended with divorce (so I’m relatively sure her first husband will have left her nothing in his Will). Her second marriage ended with her husband’s death. Her third husband left her a life interest in the whole of his estate.

On her death she will have her own NRB and that of her third husband. I want to find a way to use the NRB of her second husband as well, if I can. I’m sure we professionals have considered this in the past, but I can’t work out how to do it. Any suggestions?

Julian Cohen


Only two NRBs and RNRBs can be claimed on W’s death. The NRB of H2 could only have been claimed if she had died before H3.

Simon Northcott

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If her third husband died less than two years ago there may be scope to make a deed of variation to use up his nil rate band (and maybe his residence nil rate band?). She would then have her own nil rate band (and residence nil rate band) and that of her second husband.

Paul Davies
Clarke Willmott

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If we are still within 2 years of the death of her third husband, it seems to me that if she were to execute a variation which would fully utilise his NRB, she would then have her own NRB and that of her second husband available on her own death.

So far as I am aware, there are no constraints upon which former spouse’s (or civil partner’s) NRB can be claimed, if more than one.

The underlying question, though, is whether she can afford to relinquish the income (or even if she might yet marry again!).

Paul Saunders

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Again, of within two years after H2 death, she can execute a deed of variation directing his NRB to a discretionary trust, which lends her the NRB. The she has both the money (as she has at present) and the deduction of the NRB as a debt, from her estate.

Michael Cutler
Colemans Solicitors LLP