Legal News

Is IHT Simplification On the Way?

More than 550,000 people die annually in the UK and half of those deaths require the completion of Inheritance Tax (IHT) forms, which are not straightforward and can be a daunting burden at a difficult time for families. However, only 5 per cent of estates...

Fake Will Admission May Lead to Criminal Charges

When your spouse's lack of attention to making a will causes issues, faking one is definitely not a good idea, as a Kent woman found out recently. Her husband died in 2013 leaving various properties in Spain and a flat in England, but no will. The woman...

High Court Decision Underlines the Finality of Divorce Arbitration Awards

Divorcing couples can sometimes achieve savings of both time and money by opting for arbitration, rather than court proceedings, as a means of resolving any financial disputes. However, as a guideline High Court case underlined , arbitration has its...

Court Decides How Injured Child's Estate Should Be Distributed

It is not uncommon for children born with severe abnormalities or injuries to die in childhood. In a recent case, the Court of Protection was required to decide how to divide the estate of a child who died when the lump-sum compensation settlement for...

When a Covenant May Be More Than it Seems

If you own or buy a property, you may find that there are covenants which apply to it, a covenant being a requirement to do something or refrain from doing something with your property. A covenant will benefit other property in the vicinity. Typically, a...

Attorney Allowed to Take Over as Executor

It is commonplace for people to appoint siblings or friends as their executors. When they do and they are of a similar age, there is a risk that when the person who has made the will dies, the proposed executor will have predeceased them or lack the mental...

Sharing Principle - Court of Appeal Gives Guidance

The application of the 'sharing principle' to big money divorces is more than a matter of simple mathematics, and what family judges aim to achieve is a broadly fair outcome for both sides. That was certainly so in one case in which the Court of Appeal...

Take Care if You Have a Carer

Many people employ carers or cleaners to assist them with daily living. Quite often, such arrangements are informal and can last many years. However, failing to put them on a proper footing can prove to be an expensive mistake. Where an agency is used and...

Overcautious Approach Means Compensation for Pension Scheme Member

With significant losses being reported in 'pension transfer scams', it is no surprise that when the administrators of a pension scheme receive a request to transfer a pension to a new scheme, they are expected to conduct an appropriate due diligence process....

Disinheriting Relatives Can Be a Recipe for Discord

You may have good reasons for writing close relatives out of your will but, as any lawyer will tell you, the consequence of doing so can be family discord after you are gone. That was certainly so in one case concerning a father who disinherited his...

Tribunal Paves the Way for Suburban Garden Development

Restrictions on land use appear in the title deeds of many properties – but the law permits their deletion or modification if they become obsolete over time or stand in the way of reasonable development. Exactly that happened in one case in which the...

Commercial Surrogacies Abroad Are Not Illegal - Court of Appeal Ruling

Although commercial surrogacy businesses have long been banned in the UK, the Court of Appeal recently ruled that a clinical negligence victim would not be breaking the law were she to enter into such an arrangement in California, where a more liberal...

Social Media - Be Careful!

The legal dispute between Elon Musk and Vernon Unsworth, the man who helped to rescue boys trapped in a cave in Thailand, may have dropped out of the press over the last few weeks, but a recent case shows the lack of accuracy of Mr Musk's assertion that...

Quality of Occupation Determines Tax-Free Status of Residential Property Gain

The supposition that residential properties are exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a common, but incorrect, one. You would think, for example, that if a person only owns one property, sleeps there quite often, has post sent there and tells the council...

Son Who Did Not Do Enough Excluded From Farm Inheritance

When parents changed their wills to exclude their son from inheriting their £1 million farm after a family falling-out in 2016, he took the unusual step of challenging their right to do so. Normally, such challenges are made against the estates of...

Thinking of Dispensing With Legal Advice on a House Sale? Think Again!

Home-made contracts, particularly for the sale of land, are a singularly bad idea and can lead to costs that dwarf the modest sums needed to secure proper professional advice. Exactly that happened in one case in which a house purchase contract was so...

Procedural Unfairness Stops Council Care Action

When the mother of a teenage daughter who had been taken into care in 2016 with her agreement had another child, the local council's social services department became involved. The woman's daughter had been removed from home as a result of her mother's...

Bank Fined for Failure to Distribute Assets to Beneficiaries

Recently, Santander was fined more than £30 million for failing to distribute more than £180 million held in deceased customers' accounts to their personal representatives or entitled beneficiaries. More than 40,000 account holders were involved...

Ignorance Not a Reasonable Excuse for Tax Disclosure Failure

When an 18-year-old woman bought a derelict end terrace property in London in 2006 and sold it to developers the following year, she made no entry on her tax return, believing that principal private residence relief applied. Having made a 'discovery' of the...

Court Visit Required to Give Clarity to Will

Many wills contain clauses which alter the distribution of assets in the event of changing circumstances, such as the death of one of the beneficiaries under the will before the person making it. When drafting such clauses, it is essential that they are...
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