Recent Articles

National Living Wage

March 22, 2016 | Wills and Probate

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate normally increases with effect from 1 October.  Many employers will be geared up to include such changes in their annual pay reviews.  However the next rate change applies from 1 April 2016.  A National Living Wage (NLW) of £7.20 per hour is to be gradually increased to £9 per(Read more)

Gift Aid Declarations

March 22, 2016 | Wills and Probate

New model declarations were published on 21 October 2015.  HM Revenue & Customs has said that charities can use existing stocks of forms but gift aid declarations made after 5 April 2016 must make clear to donors their liability if the tax on their income and gains for a tax year falls short of the(Read more)

Gift Aid Donations - Unwanted Income Tax Repercussions

March 22, 2016 | Wills and Probate

From April 2016 more donors to charities may find themselves with an unexpected tax liability.  The zero percent starting rate on up to £5,000 of savings income and the change to the tax on dividend income from April 2016 may result in donors with low incomes not having paid sufficient income tax to frank their(Read more)

Case Summary (Successive Deputies): In the Matter of H, on the application of F & M [2015] EWCOP 52

March 03, 2016 | Wills and Probate

H, who was stillborn, had been diagnosed as autistic and had poor cognitive functioning and adaptive skills, almost unintelligible speech and limited communicative ability. An only child, now aged 26 years, she lived with her parents, F & M. They applied to be appointed jointly and severally as her deputies for property and affairs and(Read more)

Case Summary (Deputy's Use of Funds): In the Matter of A, David Ross v A (by her litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) [2015] EWCOP 46

March 03, 2016 | Wills and Probate

This case involved an 18 year old, A, who had received £5m in settlement of a clinical negligence claim which had left her with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, cortical blindness, severe intellectual impairment and extreme behavioural problems. She lived at home with her parents and siblings. A professional with 25 years’ experience, David Ross of Simpson(Read more)

Scottish Succession Bill 2016

February 25, 2016 | Wills and Probate

The Succession (Scotland) Bill 2016 has made significant changes to succession law in Scotland. The headline change is that the Bill excludes an ex-spouse or civil partner from inheriting under a will made before divorce or dissolution, by treating them as though they passed away before the deceased. It also cancels any appointment of the(Read more)

HMRC’s Direct Recovery of Debts and Vulnerable Taxpayers

February 25, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In February 2016, HMRC published a policy paper setting out additional safeguards that have been put in place following consultation in regard to its Direct Recovery of Debt process. The paper confirms that HMRC will not use its power to enforce payment from those who have been identified as ‘vulnerable customers’. An HMRC officer will(Read more)

The Finance Act 2015 and Inheriting ISAs

February 18, 2016 | Wills and Probate

The last gasp of the Coalition government…. For deaths on or after 3 December 2014, a surviving spouse or civil partner has the benefit of an additional ISA allowance equal to the value of the ISA investments of the deceased spouse at the time of death. A couple of things to note: The surviving spouse(Read more)

Understanding the Residential Nil Rate Band Allowance (‘RNRB’)

February 18, 2016 | Wills and Probate

Another piece of wretched legislation. Very complicated. The sort of thing that makes one want to flee the country, preferably before the new Finance Act 2016 comes into effect which will introduce even more amendments. The basic idea is to give taxpayers (but not all of them) an additional Inheritance Tax allowance in respect of(Read more)

Re C [2015]: The Freedom to Make an Unwise Choice

February 16, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In December 2014, C was diagnosed with breast cancer and in August 2015 went through a bitter relationship breakdown which left her without a home and in a lot of debt. As a result, C tried to commit suicide, and sustained serious damage to her liver and kidneys. This meant that she would require dialysis(Read more)