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Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal: April 2015

Geoffrey Shindler attempts to find the stance of key political parties on inheritance tax

If my infantile searching around the internet is anything to go by you are not going to find much assistance from any of the major parties, or the minor ones for that matter, in respect of their views on inheritance tax and what they might do in the event, likely, unlikely or otherwise, that they achieve office sometime in May.

Peter Nellist queries the method by which HMRC conduct property valuations for inheritance tax purposes

There are indications that the squeezed middle is being squeezed further after death. The chartered accountants, UHY Hacker Young, recently announced that:

Basil Dearing sets out the lessons from Wright v Waters [2014]

In the recent case of Wright v Waters, a daughter’s claim against the estate of her mother, who had, by her will disinherited the daughter, was rejected despite the daughter and her legal advisers believing that the legislation and recent decisions supported her claim. As well as the complications arising from the issues involved, interesting practical matters arose in relation to attempts to settle and legal aid. There are also lessons to be learnt in relation to the drafting of wills.

Christine Cooper examines a case which highlights the preferred approach of the court when considering the variable wishes of those without mental capacity

This article examines the approach of the Court of Protection in the case of Re: GW; London Borough of Haringey v CM [2014] when considering an application by a local authority intended to protect a vulnerable person from what it perceived to be financial exploitation by a relative. The facts of the case and the judgment are summarised in order to draw out and examine the key themes for practitioners. These are: the importance of expressed wishes and feelings; the role of perceived undue influence and conflict of interest; and the adoption of the least restrictive measures.

Stephen Boyd analyses Watts v Watts, a case that demonstrates the importance of having independent trustees

As Gutman said to the Generalissimo in Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real: ‘The most dangerous word in any human tongue is the word for brother. It’s inflammatory’.

Walker v Badmin has clarified the correct test for testamentary capacity. Araba Taylor explains

It is now settled: the test for testamentary capacity in probate claims is not the test in s2(1) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005; it is the common law test in Banks v Goodfellow [1870]. The recent decision of Re Walker (Deceased), Walker v Badmin lays the controversy to rest and contains a helpful analysis of previous conflicting decisions on this point. The conclusion is that the tests are different in important respects and that only one can apply in any given situation. In probate claims, which are concerned with the assessment, in retrospect, of whether an executed will is valid, it is the Banks test (para 50).

James Hardaker looks at a case which demonstrates the difficulties trustees face when dealing with tax on royalties

While the enduringly popular story of PL Travers’ magical nanny and her light-hearted mission to teach Mr Banks to appreciate his family should be familiar to most readers, another story connected to Mary Poppins (but which is unlikely ever to be shown on the big/small screen) is the battle played out in front of the First-Tier Tribunal in 2013 between the trustees of the PL Travers Will Trust and HMRC.

Paul Ridout outlines the key points of the draft Protection of Charities Bill

Announced in the Queen’s Speech in June 2014, this proposed new legislation is intended to beef up the Charity Commission’s powers to intervene in the administration of charities, in particular by plugging some of the gaps that had been identified over recent years. Some of the gaps had been flagged up by the Commission itself – their 2013/14 Annual Report said that ‘weaknesses in our current legal powers are undermining our ability to be an effective regulator’ – but there was also pressure from the parliamentary committees that had been looking into the Commission’s operation as a regulator for the sector, and Lord Hodgson’s report on the operation of the Charities Act 2006 had included some specific recommendations for an extension of the Commission’s powers.