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Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal: December 2015

Geoffrey Shindler makes a plea for joined-up thinking between HMRC and the government

It is very easy to criticise HM Government and HMRC. It will be water off the back of both ducks but nevertheless the more problems are brought to their attention the more possibility there is of them being rectified or, at least, ameliorated.

Mary Ashley takes a look at proposals for the residence nil-rate band

With inflation, the number of estates subject to inheritance tax is set to increase significantly by 2020. According to the Summer Budget 2015, the government considers that rising house prices are contributing nearly to double the number of estates facing an inheritance tax bill by 2020-2021 as compared with 2014-2015.

Sarah Playforth discusses Chadda v HMRC, which shed light on the level of evidence needed to show that there has been a severance

A joint tenancy is a fragile thing. That appears to be the upshot of a case in First Tier Tax Tribunal where the judge was very easily persuaded that a joint tenancy had been severed by notice – even though the notice itself had been lost.

Farrer & Co

Adam Carvalho and Alice Kendle explore the slippery and amphibious doctrine of donatio mortis causa

The case of King v The Chiltern Dog Rescue [2015] (King) has clarified – and restricted – the law relating to ‘deathbed gifts’, or donatio mortis causa (DMC). We set out below a summary of the law regarding DMCs, the background to King, the judgment and some reflections on the future of the doctrine.

Matthew Howson outlines the lessons from Australian case Hancock v Rinehart [2015], which considered fraud on a power and replacement of a trustee

Gina Rinehart (Mrs Rinehart) is the only child of mining magnate Langley Hancock. She is valued at approximately $14bn and is still, despite falling iron ore prices, the richest person in Australia. She claims to be more businesslike than her father and has not only maintained but also expanded his empire. She is also familiar with trust disputes. The Hope Margaret Hancock Trust (the ‘trust’), the object of these proceedings, was settled in 1988 as a compromise during her litigation with her father over his new maid-turned-wife. The trust’s sole asset is a 24% holding, valued at $5bn, in Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL), the family mining concern. Mrs Rinehart owns the remaining 76%.

Charles King-Farlow considers the curious decision in Young v AG [2012], which had consequences for the Wedgwood Museum, in the first part of two articles

The re-opening of the Wedgwood Museum in July 2015 is an achievement greatly to be celebrated. It is also time to consider the judgment given in December 2011, which was not appealed and led to the closing of the museum and the sale of the collection to the art fund.

John Bunker examines ISAs, in particular whether they are transferable to spouses and what this means for estate planning

HMRC’s guidance notes to ISA managers, the one way to make sense of the transferable ISA provisions (which took effect from 6 April 2015), were published on 9 July. They follow the draft issued in March. There was much confusion at first about how all this would work, thanks to badly drafted regulations, especially as to whether a surviving spouse (including civil partners) needed to ‘inherit’ their spouse’s ISA. We can now be clear about the final detail, see what this means for estate administration and take stock of this new concept in the world of estate planning. Let us consider first the details.