Go to Top

Blog Archives

Tag Archives: Northampton

Will disputes: What are suspicious circumstances?

One of the grounds commonly used to contest a will is that the testator didn’t know or approve the contents of their will.  This is called “want of knowledge and approval”. The court will look at all of the ‘suspicious’ circumstances in connection with the disputed will when dealing with want of knowledge and approval allegations. Here are 7 things to look out for, which could be considered ‘suspicious’: The Will is homemade and no professional advice has been sought; The Will contains spelling mistakes and/or untrue statements and/or uses language which would not have been used or understood by the testator; The Will contains a radical change in dispositions made without a rational explanation and/or generally the dispositions cannot be rationally explained; The relationship of the beneficiary to the testator was not close; The witnesses to the Will were not sufficiently independent; There is evidence of the beneficiary having …Read More

Will disputes: Children of abusive father unsuccessfully challenge his will

This is a sad case involving the children of wealthy businessman Alfred Stewart, who died in 2008. His children, Garry, Calum, Linden and Leonie, claimed Mr Stewart was an abusive sexual predator.  In 2005 he made a will that left his £6.7 million estate to charity, completely excluding his four children. The children raised an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to set aside their father’s 2005 will (and later amendments to it) on the basis that he was paranoid and delusional when he made his will. The court heard evidence that Mr Stewart was verbally and physically abusive to his children and his first wife, Lynne Buchan.  There was also evidence that he propositioned other women and sexually abused a child from about the age of four. Psychiatrists also told the court that Mr Stewart had a paranoid personality disorder. The judge, Lord Brailsford, said, “He seems to have been sexually …Read More

Trusts: The tax treatment of discretionary trusts

These notes apply to trusts where the creator of the trust (the settlor) and his/her spouse cannot benefit from the trust.  If the settlor or his/her spouse can benefit from the trust, special rules apply. Inheritance tax Inheritance tax depends very much on the sequence of events which occur after the trust is set up. If the trust is contained in a will the trustees can, within two years from the date of the testator’s death, distribute the whole of the trust fund to one or more beneficiaries without any liability to inheritance tax.  After the end of this two year period, or in the case of a trust created other than on death, inheritance tax will be due under the “relevant property” regime. Under the present law this will mean inheritance tax at up to 6% of the value of the trust assets every 10 years, and charges at …Read More

Inheritance Tax – Recording potentially exempt transfers

A potentially exempt transfer (PET) is not liable to inheritance tax when made, and it is treated as an exempt transfer unless the person who made the gift (the transferor) dies within seven years.  This means that there is no requirement to notify HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)  on the making of a PET or to deliver an inheritance tax account for a PET. HMRC will not enter into discussions about, or determine the value of, a PET before the transferor’s death makes that PET chargeable. It should be remembered, however, that there may be a charge to inheritance tax in respect of the PET in some cases, and that on the death of the transferor details of PETs made within the previous seven years will need to be available.  It is therefore important to record all PETs in writing. Tax on a PET that proves to be a chargeable …Read More

Care fees: Demos predicts the elderly will be worse off with the £75,000 care fees cap

Demos, the think-tank focused on power and politics, believes an extra 120,000 elderly people a year will receive no relief on their social care costs as a result of the government adopting a cap of £75,000 instead of £35,000. Figures from Andrew Dilnot’s government-commissioned review into the future funding of social care showed that 37% of people aged over 65 would have their social care bills reduced by a recommended £35,000 cap on individual care costs. However, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that the Government will introduce a £75,000 cap instead.  According to Demos, the £75,000 cap will only help 16% of the over-65 population, a difference of 117,096 pensioners every year based on 2011 census figures. Currently the means-tested threshold where people are required to fund the full costs of their care is £23,250, which the Government is expected to raise to £123,000. Claudia Wood, Deputy Director of …Read More

Will disputes: Dispute over Daventry man’s estate

A local case was in the High Court last month when Paul Tociapski claimed his brother, Boris, had put pressure on their father, Igor Tociapski, to transfer his Weedon property to him in February 2010.  Paul also claimed that their father’s 2009 will was invalid on the grounds of testamentary capacity and lack of knowledge and approval. Judge Stuart Isaacs QC decided that there was no sufficient evidence to satisfy him that the late Mr Tociapski had made the transfer of his £350,000 home to Boris with full, free and informed thought. He therefore set the transfer aside for reasons of undue influence. The judge also considered the validity of Igor Tociapski’s 2009 which left everything to Boris.  The judge accepted that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the will ; namely that there appeared to be no rational reason for Paul to have been cut out of his father’s will, …Read More

Tax: DIY investors aren’t taking advantage of capital gains tax (CGT) allowances

According to new research from Prudential, many DIY investors are failing to consider important taxes and charges when making investment decisions.   44% admit they don’t know which product would be most appropriate for their circumstances, 37% aren’t sure how to avoid tax traps, and 19% aren’t confident they’ll keep under their annual Capital Gains Tax (CGT) threshold. Using the CGT threshold correctly helps investors maximise returns in a tax-efficient way. However, despite 81% DIY investors saying they understand CGT, only 28% knew the allowance. More shocking is that only 7% of DIY investors claim to use their capital gains tax allowance each year, rising to 15% for high net worth investors. Matthew Stephens, tax expert at Prudential, commented: “Investing without advice from an expert may be cheaper initially. However, without a clear understanding of all the relevant considerations, it could be very costly in the long-run”. Well said Matthew. By Karen Shakespeare, 10th April 2013

Tax: Budget puts stop to some inheritance tax planning

In his recent Budget Statement, the Chancellor announced that new legislation will be introduced to stop inheritance tax (IHT) mitigation schemes that rely on deductions for liabilities owed by the deceased. The current rules allow executors to deduct from the taxable estate any debts owed by the deceased at death, whether or not the liabilities are paid after death and regardless of how the borrowed funds have been used. According to HMRC, this has been exploited by avoidance schemes involving contrived debts that are never repaid, so there is no real reduction in the value of the estate. One example of such a scheme is where a person sells an asset to his wife in return for her IOU. When she dies the IOU is deducted from her estate even though the husband had no intention of recovering the ‘debt’. In future, where debts are not repaid on death, the executors will have to demonstrate …Read More

Power of Attorney: Managing a bank account for another person is to become easier

A comprehensive framework for people who need to manage a bank or building society account on behalf of someone else has been produced by the Law Society, the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association (BSA), the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), and other partners. The new guidance was launched on 3rd April and aims to help staff in banks and building societies to recognise and understand Enduring Powers of Attorney, Lasting Powers of Attorney, General Powers of Attorney, Deputyship Orders, Receivers Orders and other third party management arrangements. Thousands of relatives and carers need to manage an account on behalf of another person who is elderly, vulnerable or unable to manage their own affairs.  At the moment, people are reporting problems when dealing with banks and building societies as staff seem untrained in these matters. The objective of the guidance is to improve the information that is available both to bank staff …Read More

Will disputes: Court decides Will that cut family out is invalid.

The family of  Iris Jolly have been battling in the High Court to prevent her estate passing to her elderly friends. Mrs Jolly made a will in August 2010, less than two months before she died at the age of 80, which left an estate worth £500,000 to her  “dear friends” Richard and Pamela Phythian, both in their 70s. Mrs Jolly’s family claimed the will was not validly executed and she lacked the mental capacity to make the will at the time it was written. The court heard that Mrs Jolly had suffered severe mental decline after the deaths of her husband Alf and her twin brother.   Mrs Jolly’s niece Lynda Turner said her aunt was a  lonely, housebound, childless widow who was open to suggestion.  She believed Mr Phythian persuaded Mrs Jolly to make the will. Mr Phythian admitted drawing up the will for Mrs Jolly.  He was appointed sole executorin the will and he had also witnessed …Read More