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Inheritance Tax

Making a will during the Coronavirus

Leah Woodnott
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My clients tell me that the current situation has made them think about whether they need to make a will, or whether their current will no longer reflects their wishes. As a firm, we are following government guidance and are now working from home, but we are...

Proposed changes to IHT and how that affects farmers

Katie Gibson-Green
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The Tax Simplification Office has reported the need to overhaul the complex tax system under which we currently operate. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Inheritance and Intergenerational Fairness has published a report recommending the abolition of...

Election update - private client tax implications

Tim Ogle
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So, the first Winter election since 1974 and the first to take place in December since 1923, has returned a Conservative Government. But few would have expected a majority of 80, thanks to the Tories winning so many seats in the traditional Labour heartlands...

Potential Inheritance Tax axe by Chancellor Javid

Leah Woodnott
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Chancellor Sajid Javid certainly hit the news last week after he speculated that getting rid of Inheritance Tax was on his mind. What is Inheritance Tax?  Inheritance Tax is a tax incurred on a deceased’s estate. An estate is made up of all of...

Celebrity's multi-million pound inheritance dispute

Amanda Smallcombe
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Actress Elizabeth Hurley’s son, Damian Hurley, has been involved in an inheritance dispute with his multi-millionaire grandfather, Peter Bing. Background Peter Bing is a very wealthy individual. In 1980, Peter set up a family Trust for the benefit...

Inheritance tax: don't make quick decisions

Chloe Hammond
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Recently published newspaper articles have contained details of political parties’ proposals, in respect of overhauling Inheritance Tax . Inheritance Tax is a widely debated subject and one which is not often agreed upon. Inheritance tax is a subject...

The role of an executor

Katey  Stephenson
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The overwhelming demands of an executor were recently highlighted and they did not make pleasant reading for those handling an estate without legal advice. At the end of November, the Office of Tax Simplification published their review on inheritance tax....

Thinking of making a gift to someone this Christmas

Chloe Hammond
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Thinking of making a gift to someone this Christmas…Have you thought about Inheritance Tax? Gifts are classified as anything which has value, for example, property, possessions and money, or anything which causes loss in value when transferred, for...

Universal Wealth Preservation - the ongoing investigation

Katey  Stephenson
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At the end of last month, I highlighted the difficulties that a number of individuals were having with Universal Wealth Preservation and Mr Steven Long – including the number of aliases through which they acted. The issues surrounding Universal Wealth...

You're having a laugh!

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Comedian Ricky Gervais told a US show that he won’t be leaving a will in respect of his assets, which are estimated to be around £60million. The star of The Office and Extras confessed that he has told his individual family members that he will...

The quicker we act, the better!

Katey  Stephenson
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We have recently received enquiries relating to Universal Wealth Preservation, who are trust and estate planners. Over the past decade, they or their directors have become trustees for many individuals’ estates. They had offered to handle...

The return of the 'Death Tax'

Katie Gibson-Green
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The return of the ‘Death Tax’ and the impact on farming families Last February, we discussed the Government’s plans to significantly increase probate application fees -  click here to read the blog .  The changes, which were...

The only thing certain in life is death and taxes!

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BBC news recently reported that Guildford has been named the “Inheritance ‘Capital’ of the UK”. During the 2015/16 tax year, as many as 658 families in the Surrey town were subject to inheritance tax costing them, on average, a...

STEP issues advice

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Many of the Wills, Trusts and Probate team at Birkett Long are members of STEP, which is the professional association for practitioners specialising in inheritance and succession planning.  STEP has recently issued a blog about Universal Asset...

Taxpayers victorious on Business Property Relief claim

Katie Gibson-Green
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There have been many high profile cases in recent years in which executors have endeavoured to claim Business Property Relief (BPR) on let holiday cottages, in a bid to save on Inheritance Tax – all of which have failed. Until now, let cottages have...

"What do we say to the Lord of death?"

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According to George RR Martin “not today" – A Game of Thrones It is perhaps not surprising that generally, as a nation, we do not like to discuss the issue of death. Probably because it is a sad time. Although, as sad as it may be, if we...

The Last Laugh

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Comedians of a certain generation are famous for their mother-in-law jokes and tales of “her indoors”.  Ken Dodd was one of those whose act often included such stories. His passing earlier this week will be mourned by many. The Notty Ash...

Power of attorney refunds

Katey  Stephenson
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Are you a donor or attorney for any lasting powers of attorney made between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017? If so, the donor could be entitled to a partial refund from the Office of the Public Guardian. The Government has recently launched a scheme that...

All Our Yesterdays v Tomorrow's World

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As a child growing up in the 1960s, I can vividly recall two particular television programmes that aired during this time.  “All Our Yesterdays” and “Tomorrow's World”. Tomorrow's World was all about innovation and what...

Days of Wine and Roses (and what happens if they wilt)

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It is difficult to say how long we have been living in this so-called modern age, but what cannot be denied is the fact that the number of people living in long-term relationships, outside of marriage, has increased over the last 50 years. As a result of...

Providing for your pet's future, without you.

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This week’s topic in the Law Society’s @solicitorhour discussion on Twitter, was including your pets in your will; an issue which we deal with regularly. If you would like to see all the questions and answers they can be accessed here: ...

Advice for attorneys under a lasting power of attorney (LPA)

Claire Read
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I googled “carer jailed for theft in Essex” and was quite horrified at the number of entries that came up. There was a case last week that I blogged on regarding a carer who was jailed for stealing from an elderly lady, (read it here) ...

Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes

Katey  Stephenson
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Benjamin Franklin famously quoted: "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  While we may dislike the idea of paying tax, we begrudgingly accept this as part of our everyday lives. The same can’t be...

Careful planning pays off for Hugh Hefner

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For many people, after they pass away a grant of probate is needed as authority to release their assets. I doubt dealing with probate is a task many executors look forward to but, if a grant is needed, dealing with the probate process is necessary. ...

Inheritance Boom from the Baby Boomers

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The Resolution Foundation recently reported that inheritances passed to the “millennial” generation would more than double over the next twenty years. Whilst heirs to “baby boomers” are likely to benefit from much larger inheritances...

Inheritance Tax - it pays to plan ahead

Katey  Stephenson
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Just over a week ago, news hit that the late Duke of Westminster had avoided paying inheritance tax (IHT) on his staggering £8bn fortune. However, unlike the many stories on tax evasion reported over the years, the measures the Duke had taken before...

Charities to ensure that they are raising donations ethically

Claire Read
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I have just spoken on the Ronnie Barbour BBC Essex Radio show ( listen here ) about charities and making gifts in wills. The Fundraising Regulator has warned charities to ensure that they are raising donations ethically because charitable donations in wills...

Business Property Relief case won by Tax Payer

Katie Gibson-Green
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In the recent case of Maureen W. Vinge (deceased) v HMRC 2017, the argument was won by the tax payer based on common sense, and could open the doors for other claims to be accepted in the future. Mrs Vinge died in May 2012 owning 30 acres of land with...

Bringing wills into the 21st Century

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We are all guilty of relying on technology for storing our personal information, but you ever thought of having a digital will? The Law Commission’s recent consultation paper on making a will has discussed the possible implementation of digital...

Can you really decide who inherits your estate?

Claire Read
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In the UK we have what is called testamentary freedom.  This means we can leave our money and estate to whomever we wish (most European countries don’t allow this and a proportion (if not all) pass in accordance with set rules and pass to blood...

The Law Commission considering lowering the age to make a will

Emma Harper
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The Law Commission is starting to look at wills and how they can be brought up to date to suit a modern lifestyle.  Currently there is a degree of formality when making a will. You must be over 18, have the necessary capacity and understanding, and...

The Law Commission - possible reforms to making a will

Claire Read
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The Law Commission has released a 300 page consultation about possible reforms to making a will. Wow! Does it mean that change is upon us? And will this change be for the better?  Over the next few weeks we will do a series of blogs on the Law...

The law around wills needs updating!

Jennie Skingsley
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The Law Commission for England and Wales has today called for updates to the law around wills, claiming it should be brought into the ‘modern world’. One of our wills and probate experts, Claire Read, spoke to BBC Essex on Thursday morning,...

Ensure you are protected

Claire Read
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I was watching the news at lunch time and there was an item on a care home being investigated for neglect of its residents. It really was quite distressing, and it got me thinking about ways in which those who are vulnerable can be protected. Most...

Probate fee update

Claire Read
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Only a couple of weeks ago, the Law Society Select Committee reported that it was their view that the Lord Chancellor had gone beyond her powers in proposing to increasing the fees by such a great amount.  The reason for this is that the probate fees...

It's not all over until the fat lady sings

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Somebody recently asked me what this expression meant. I was able to give them the general gist of the meaning and suggested they have a look at Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable which would provide a more accurate definition. What it also...

New tax on bereaved families?

Claire Read
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You may have seen that probate fees are going to increase from £150 up to £20,000. I am gobsmacked by this because the responses to the consultation were overwhelmingly against such a high increase, but the government has just ignored those...

Make a gift to charity in your will

Claire Read
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You may have read about Take That doing a private gig for a fan and the fan paid £1m which will go to charity. Well, you don't need to be super rich to benefit charity and did you know that most charities rely on legacies in wills to continue doing...

Baby boomers

David Feakins
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It has recently been suggested that the so-called “Baby Boom” generation (those born between the 1940s and 1960s) are enjoying a higher level of income and wealth than any other generation born before them. Undoubtedly a great achievement, but...

Grown-up children should "look after themselves"

Lisa Cox
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The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 hit the headlines again last week as Judge David Halpern QC in his judgement told Danielle Ames to “get a job” and ordered her to pay £35,000 in legal costs to her...

Think twice! Use a professional!

David Feakins
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It’s been just over half a year since the Law Society launched its ‘Use a Professional’ campaign. The growth of unregulated and D.I.Y legal services that are readily available to individuals means that more and more people are being exposed...

Change to ISAs

David Feakins
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Following Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement delivered late last year, significant changes are being made to the way in which ISAs operate – and you will be pleased to know that the changes are wholly positive. Previously, spouses who...

Business Property Relief...on a caravan

Claire Read
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Have you always fancied owning a caravan at a holiday home site? Well if you do, there is some excellent news for you. In a recent case ( Pawson (deceased) v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 51 (TC )) 100% Inheritance Tax relief (called Business Property Relief) was given...