Private Client and Family know how

Inheritance Act claims – good news for cohabitees

English law has always placed great value on the principle of testamentary freedom. That is, an individual’s right to leave their estate to whomever they like, with no obligation to provide for family members under a Will. However, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”), the Court does have power […]

Surrogacy guidance published for parents, surrogates and health professionals

The Department of Health and Social care has just published two very useful guidance notes for surrogates and intended parents. The note identifies the financial considerations which both the intended parents and the surrogate need to bear in mind, both when entering into a surrogacy agreement and when making an application to court for a parental […]

Trust Registration Service – an overview

HMRC’s new online Trusts Registration Service (TRS) was launched in July 2017. This new online facility was introduced partly to implement new regulations relating to the UK’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime, and partly to extend HMRC’s digital remit in the age of tax transparency, although it has not been without its technical glitches […]

The dangers of DIY wills

This article first appeared in The Money Pages. Contemplating mortality and planning ahead for death is not appealing to most people. There is often a deep-seated fear or unease which surrounds the act of preparing a will and getting one’s affairs in order. It’s no wonder, therefore, that some people prefer to take matters into […]

Private Client: Autumn Budget review

On 22 November the Chancellor of Exchequer, Philip Hammond introduced to Parliament his Autumn Budget. This time, there are no significant changes in the Private Client sector; although, yet again there is a promise of putting the Inheritance Tax rules under review. Perhaps the most significant change is the headline-snatching announcement of abolishing Stamp Duty […]

Are ‘deputies’ the new guardians of private wealth?

This article first appeared in Spear’s. When it comes to controversy in the private client world, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are not generally among the usual suspects. So when retired Court of Protection Senior Judge Denzil Lush vowed on BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme last month never to sign an LPA, it’s safe to […]

Private Client legal update

The Finance (no.2) Bill 2017 Following the Prime Minister’s decision in May this year to call a snap general election, the Government had to drop over 70 provisions from the Finance Bill 2017 (subsequently the Finance Act 2017) in order to pass vital elements of the legislation before Parliament was dissolved. To enact the withdrawn […]

Reform of law surrounding Wills: from the Victorian-Era to the Digital-Era?

It is estimated that approximately 40% of people over 18 die without making a Will. To try and address this alarming statistic the Law Commission has this month launched a consultation proposing an overhaul of the current law on Wills. Key provisions governing the validity of a Will can still be found in the Wills Act 1837. […]

The sole director-shareholder dilemma: Kings Court Trust Limited and others v Lancashire Cleaning Services Limited

Mr Pilling was the sole director and sole shareholder of a cleaning company, Lancashire Cleaning Services Limited (the “Company”). Sadly, Mr Pilling died suddenly on 28th February 2017. Following his death, the Company endeavoured to continue trading. Before his death, Mr Pilling had prepared a Will appointing executors to administer his estate. However, regrettably, the […]

The General Election 2017: private client measures on hold

Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that there would be a snap general election, the government withdrew a substantial number of provisions from the Finance Bill 2017, which received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017. The Finance Bill needed to be enacted before Parliament was dissolved so that the government continued to have authority to […]

Brexit report on “justice for families, individuals and businesses”

The House of Lords EU Committee has published a report about the effect of Brexit on three EU Regulations which together ‘play an important role in facilitating the daily operation of the European legal system’. Jonathan Haydn-Williams looks at the Committee’s conclusions as to the Brussels I Regulation ‘recast’, relating to jurisdiction and judgments in civil […]

Update: government announce drastic increase in probate fees

The personal representatives, who are responsible for administering the estate of someone who has died, generally require a Grant of Representation to allow them to collect in, sell and distribute the deceased’s assets, with the exception of jointly held assets which pass automatically on death to the surviving owner. Currently a flat fee of £215 […]

Landmark ruling by Supreme Court on unmarried couples’ rights (In the matter of an application by Denise Brewster for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2017] UKSC 8)

On 8 February 2017, a judgment was handed down in the Supreme Court, in a case concerning a requirement in a fairly obscure piece of legislation, the Local Pension Scheme (Benefits, Membership and Contributions) Regulations 2009 (the “2009 Regulations”). The 2009 Regulations provide for the payment of retirement pensions to members of the scheme and […]

Residence Nil-Rate Band: the basics

The estate of an individual who dies on or after 6 April 2017 may qualify for an increased tax-free amount, the residence nil-rate band (RNRB), if their estate includes an interest in a home which is being left to their direct descendants. This is in addition to the existing nil rate band (NRB) of £325,000 […]

Autumn Statement 2016: a private client perspective

In general, the 2016 Autumn Statement (the “Statement”) brought no significant ‘surprise’ announcements for private clients; indeed on the inheritance tax front the Statement was particularly quiet. Perhaps the biggest revelation was that this was Phillip Hammond’s first and last Autumn Statement. The new Chancellor, Mr Hammond plans to reverse the Autumn Statement and the […]

Update on the Inheritance Tax position of Non-Domiciled Individuals

Domicile is a common law concept which is distinct from an individual’s residence or nationality. Generally speaking, it is the country where an individual intends to settle permanently. The concept is not defined in statute for tax purposes and depending on the circumstances, it can be a rather complex area which is open to dispute […]

SDLT higher rates: a private client perspective

In last year’s Autumn statement, the government unveiled its plans to increase the rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) charged on purchases of “additional residential properties” e.g. second homes or buy to let properties. These changes came into effect on 1 April 2016, and apply to completions taking place on or after this date. […]

The Budget 2016: five key changes affecting private client

On 16th March 2016, George Osborne announced his Budget to Parliament. Among the raft of measures introduced are a number of significant developments relevant to taxation and broader private client issues. In this article we have highlighted five of the most noteworthy changes. 1. Reduced rates of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) For disposals on or […]

Joint bank accounts – the survivor takes it all?

Joint bank accounts are common and can provide for a useful way in which to manage finances. Accounts held between spouses or civil partners allow for bills and other household expenses to be paid more easily and those held between parents and children allow for the children to assist with the affairs of their parents […]

Married or in a civil partnership? Taking the ‘individual’ out of ISAs

On 6 April 2015, new rules came into effect concerning Individual Savings Accounts (“ISAs”). This update focuses in particular on the new transferable ISA tax benefit on the death of a spouse or registered civil partner. Under previous rules ISAs, like any other asset, could be passed via your Will to beneficiaries but would lose […]

Last chance saloon? Pension planning opportunities and pitfalls; action needed before 5th April 2016

There are significant changes happening to pensions, again, from April 2016. These changes include restrictions on future contributions and tax relief and a limit on how much you can save into pensions without a future tax charge. This article highlights these changes, identifies those who may be affected and the actions that need to be taken before […]

Summer Budget 2015: The Headlines

On 8 July the Chancellor presented his Summer Budget to Parliament. Many of the measures contained in the Budget will have a significant impact on a range of Private Client issues and we will be looking at these in more detail over the coming months. In the meantime, we have summarised the key headlines below: […]

Surrogacy Law – in the UK and abroad

Surrogacy has become increasingly common in recent years and though it is hard to establish statistics there are reportedly 1,500 children born to UK parents in overseas jurisdictions each year. If a surrogate receives compensation beyond reimbursement of medical and other reasonable expenses, the arrangement is considered to be commercial rather than altruistic. Some countries, […]

General Election 2015: Inheritance Tax Proposals under the Conservative Manifesto

The Conservative Manifesto 2015 sets out the party’s proposals to effectively increase the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1million for married couples and civil partners. The cost of the scheme is expected to be £1billion, which will be funded by reducing pension tax relief for those earning over £150,000 per year. At present, Inheritance Tax is […]

Budget 2015: Summary of Key Tax Provisions

On 18th March 2015, George Osborne delivered his sixth budget as Chancellor and the last of the current Parliament. Amongst the announcements were a number of developments relevant to tax planning, the key points of which are summarised below: Capital Gains Tax – Entrepreneurs’ Relief Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) reduces the rate of CGT to 10% […]

Wyatt v Vince: It’s not over

Kathleen Wyatt was recently successful in her case to take her former husband, wind farm entrepreneur Dale Vince, to court despite not lodging a claim until nearly 20 years after their divorce. The decision in this case has been headline news since the Supreme Court handed down its judgment on 11 March because it raises […]

Beneficiary Held to be Liable to a Penalty for Inaccurate Inheritance Tax Declaration

If you make gifts of money or items of value to other individuals these gifts are chargeable transfers for inheritance tax purposes. At the point when the gift is made there is no charge as the gift constitutes a potentially exempt transfer (PET). A PET only becomes chargeable if the donor dies within seven years […]

Transnational parenting and the consequences

Under English law no one is permitted to take a child out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales (which, for the moment at least, includes Scotland) without the permission of all those with parental responsibility, because doing so would be child abduction.  Where this permission is not forthcoming the party intending to relocate will […]

Capacity and Decision-Making

In the event that a person becomes unable to manage their own affairs it is very difficult for those around them to deal with assets and interact with institutions on their behalf unless that person has appointed attorneys in a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”). Without a LPA it is necessary to gain the permission […]

For richer and forever: the marital contract and spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance is one of the most contentious issues between divorcing couples. How much; for how long; and what is it supposed to cover? It is, therefore, perhaps surprising that consideration of why the liability for spousal maintenance arises in the first place is rare. On the whole it is generally accepted, in principle, that […]

High-Value Property Taxation

The present forecast for the high-value property market is that it is set to slow down in the run up to next year’s election. The Labour and Liberal Democrats proposals, for an annual tax on properties over £2 million (the so-called ‘Mansion Tax’), have been an exacerbating factor. The proposals for a Mansion Tax follow […]

When is it really over? Striking out financial remedy applications in the Family Court

The current position in the Family Court is that there is no limitation period preventing an ex-spouse from making a claim for financial remedy years, and even decades, following divorce. This can deprive parties of financial certainty, impacting on life post-divorce and potentially putting strain on new relationships and families. However, at the beginning of […]

Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death: Update

Following a six-year project by the Law Commission, the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 (“the Act”) received Royal Assent in May 2014 and came into force on 1 October. The Act brings changes to the law of inheritance, in particular the Intestacy Rules and family provision claims. This article provides a basic introduction to […]

LPAs: Online-only Registration Postponed

In a move likely to be welcomed by the legal profession, the Government has decided to postpone the implementation of a fully online system for the registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) at the Office of the Guardian (“OPG”). This article provides a basic introduction to LPAs and analyses the Government’s decision.

Intestacy Rules: Change on the Horizon

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Bill received Royal Assent on 14 May, to become the Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Act 2014 (“the Act”). In this update, we revisit our article from last August to provide a reminder of the changes that are due to come into force in October 2014. The Act changes several issues […]

Third Time Lucky for HMRC? Reform of the IHT Rules Applying to Trusts

Last year, HMRC proposed that an individual’s IHT tax-free allowance (the nil-rate band) should be split across all trusts that he or she set up. At the time, the plans attracted some criticism and did not make the cut when the Finance Bill 2014 was unveiled. But now the plans have resurfaced in slightly amended […]

Residential Property and Capital Gains Tax: Changes Afoot for Non-UK Residents and Multiple Home Owners

Capital Gains Tax has found itself in the spotlight in recent weeks, owing to two significant changes to the CGT and residential property landscape. Firstly, the government has moved to limit the final period exemption that allowed those owning more than one residential property to reduce CGT on second homes. Secondly, looking forward, plans to extend the CGT regime to non-UK residents selling UK residential property appear to be going ahead, and are set to be in force from April 2015. We take a look at these reforms in more detail.

The Budget 2014 – New Taxation Developments

On 19 March, the cameras gathered outside 11 Downing Street as George Osborne raised his red briefcase. Alongside the changes exercising the tabloids (bingo duty and the price of a pint) there were some rather significant announcements affecting the tax and personal finance landscape. Five of the most important are summarised below. 1. Personal allowance […]

Why Your New Year Resolution Should Be Making a Will

It is not surprising that most people find it quite difficult to get around to making a Will. It can be hard to face up to one’s own mortality and often when people are considering making a Will it is after somebody close has died. However, if you do not make a Will then you […]

Potential Pitfalls of Digging Deep

Subterranean excavations may be an increasingly popular method of extending a property, but such developments also carry potential pitfalls. Planning controls do not usually apply to a development that does not affect the external appearance of a property, but means of redress still exist for neighbours who are adversely affected by basement excavation works, whether […]

Loneliness and the Elderly

Loneliness in the UK is a serious problem. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that 1 in 10 people aged 65 or over feel lonely often or always. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness there are 800,000 people in England who are chronically lonely and that over 75% of GPs they polled […]

Autumn Statement 2013

Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement on 5 December 2013. While some of the policies had already been widely predicted, there were some surprises in the package announced. We set out a summary of the key policies that were announced: Capital Gains Tax and Non UK Residents As predicted, the Chancellor introduced a Capital […]

Autumn Statement Preview: Osborne’s Plan to Tax Foreign Property Owners

It is reported that George Osborne is considering imposing capital gains tax (“CGT”) on foreign property owners in an attempt to curb soaring house prices in and around the capital. The new development would follow on from a series of changes affecting property ownership and taxation introduced by the Chancellor in last year’s Budget and […]

What Could The Government’s Care Reforms Mean For You?

Earlier this year, the Government announced that it would drastically reform care funding to remove the uncertainty and fear caused by unlimited care costs and ensure that individuals receive the care and support they need as soon as they need it. Why are these proposals being made? There is concern that the fear of unlimited […]

Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill – Changes to the Intestacy Rules

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill, which makes signififcant amendments to the intestacy rules, recently had its first reading in the Hourse of Lords. Read on to find out more about these changes…

Finance Bill 2013 now in force – inheritance tax; taxation of trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries; new statutory residence test; general anti-abuse rule

The Finance Bill 2013 received Royal Assent on 17 July 2013 triggering a number of private client measures to come into force. Please read on for a summary of the changes.

Prest v Petrodel: Spouses Cannot Hide Wealth in Companies to Avoid Losing it upon Divorce

On the 12 June 2013 the Supreme Court laid down a marker by unanimously allowing an appeal by Yasmin Prest and allowing her to get her hands on assets held by her ex-husband in numerous companies in his name.

Digital Inheritance

Ever thought about what will happen to your online assets once you die? Consider leaving a digital legacy.

Statutory Residence Test

The new statutory residence test came into effect on 6 April 2013 to determine an individual’s liability to pay income tax, capital gains tax and (if applicable) inheritance tax. Those currently thought to be non-UK residents but who intend on spending some time in the UK during the tax year 2013/14 may be affected by the new rules. Read more.

New Inheritance Tax Rules for Non-UK Domiciled Spouses

The Budget which was announced on 20 March 2013 has brought welcome news for couples with a mixed UK and non-UK domicile.

Inheritance Tax Update

Summary of the latest changes to the tax free threshold and Business Property Relief on holiday home lets

Draft Finance Bill 2013: Implications for High Value UK Residential Property

Sarah Reynolds looks at the impact of the imminent Finance Bill 2013 on high end residential properties in the UK

Gifts out of Surplus Income

A useful way of making unlimited gifts of money to individuals which fall outside the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes. Read on to see when the exemption can apply.

When is a House not a House? Leasehold Enfranchisement Update

The Supreme Court gives guidance on the answer to this deceptive question …

Live or Let Die

The advantages and disadvantages of putting in place an Advanced Directive or Lasting Powers of Attorney

Chancel Repair Liability Update

What is the position as regards chancel repair liability after 12 October 2013?