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Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal: June 2016

Technical advice is no longer sufficient. Geoffrey Shindler outlines how the world of the trust and estate practitioner has changed over the past 50 years

Fifty years ago, that is June 1966, I was employed (if that is the right word and it probably is not) as some kind or porter/general dogsbody at a very posh hotel in Cambridge. Quite why I was employed in that capacity was at the time a mystery to me and is no less of a mystery now, but time has moved on and the harsh realities of life as a member of that section of the working class have receded somewhat. I think I was in Cambridge, post-examinations, waiting for the result of those examinations and trying somehow to delay my entry into the world of real work.

In Blades v Isaac [2016] the trust fund paid a high price for the trustees’ initial refusal to disclose accounts. Tamasin Perkins analyses the judgment

When it comes to disclosure to beneficiaries, how far can a trustee go astray before it is ordered to pay its own costs personally or pay the opposing party’s costs from its own funds? Pretty far, the 2016 decision of Blades v Isaac tells us, especially when the trustee has breached its duty of disclosure of information only, rather than committed any breach of trust.

Jo Summers reviews A Modern Approach to Lifetime Tax Planning for Private Clients

There’s a certain brand of beer that prides itself on being ‘reassuringly expensive’. When I saw the review copy of A Modern Approach to Lifetime Tax Planning for Private Clients (with precedents) 2nd ed, it occurred to me that it is ‘reassuringly lengthy’.

Hannah Southon highlights a case that provides new guidance on the status of protectors in English law

There have been very few, if any, cases in England concerning the standing of protectors to bring matters before the English courts. The decision in Davidson v Seelig [2016] provides useful guidance both as to a protector’s standing under ss41 and 57 of the Trustee Act 1925 and on the extent to which a protector may invoke the court’s inherent jurisdiction. Further, prior to this judgment there had been some doubt as to whether, in the absence in England and Wales of enabling statutory provisions, a protector is entitled to apply for directions and other relief in relation to matters which are not directly connected to the powers they hold. The clear answer now, at least at first instance, is that they are not. Perhaps most of all, the decision highlights the problems in the role of protector that arise from its lack of equitable and statutory foundation in England.

Vardags

Lydia Pilati considers the lessons to be learned from Brennan v Prior [2015] on contesting the validity of a will

The case of Brennan v Prior [2015] denotes the atypical case that is used to exemplify the type of claims that may be made when contesting the validity of a will.

Luke Busbridge examines the outcome of The Trustees of the David Zetland Settlement [2013], in which it was argued that a property business was eligible for 100% business property relief

A well-worn maxim is that ‘we’ve never had it so good’, but one that is not commonly heard in relation to tax. However, it arguably rings just as true in relation to the current (very favourable) rates of business property relief (BPR) as it does in other, less objective, connections. With the top rate of BPR standing at 100% and appearing to be in little danger of being altered – during the lifetime of the present government, at least – in that respect we really have never had it so good. Someone of a less sunny disposition might also observe that things cannot get any better, but that is not the point. Since 10 March 1992, the maximum rate of BPR has been 100%, and is, understandably, one of the golden geese of the capital tax world.

Jonathan Shankland and Tulin Hamit investigate changes to the intestacy rules created by the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 (the Act) received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014 and came into force on 1 October 2014. The Act makes some crucial changes to the intestacy rules found under part IV of the Administration of Estates Act 1925. The Act also makes changes to the rules relating to family provision claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act), and to some of the powers of trustees. There were also some subtle changes to the treatment of children on adoption. Most of the changes enacted by the Act were recommendations from the Law Commission’s report, ‘Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death’ (the report) published in 2011.