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Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal: May 2014

Geoffrey Shindler gives his view on the proposed raising of inheritance tax to a £1m threshold

David Cameron’s recent utterances about inheritance tax reminded me of that well known US predecessor to Eric Cantona, the baseball legend Yogi Berra, whose famous statement that this is ‘Déjà vu all over again’ came to mind recently.

Withers LLP

Claire Blakemore provides a practical guide for trustees in the event of divorce

The American preacher Lorenzo Dow famously said ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ and this could be said to be a fairly accurate summary of the difficult positions in which trustees often find themselves. At the heart of a trustee’s role is the obligation to fulfil their fiduciary and general obligations to their beneficiaries, while acting in accordance with the terms of the trust. Even in a situation where there is harmony between the beneficiaries, meeting those obligations can be a difficult task; but where a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) is involved in divorce proceedings, the role can be most unenviable.

Edward Hicks considers the implications of Re Devillebichot; Brennan v Prior [2013] for dealing with litigants-in-person

When Anthony (a respected magistrate) and Andrew Prior were asked by their cousin Anne Devillebichot whether they would be prepared to act as executors for and witness the will of her brother and their cousin Franҫois, little did they anticipate the stormy litigation that was about to break over their heads, culminating in a four day trial with the judgment being reported as Re Devillebichot; Brennan v Prior [2013].

Jason Nickless describes how trusts were applied to resolve the dispute in Wise v Jimenez [2013]

On 11 October 2013 Miss Penelope Reed QC (sitting as a Deputy Judge of the Chancery Division) delivered her judgment in Wise v Jimenez [2013]. Mr Dennis Wise and Mr Tony Jimenez were formerly close friends, having met through their involvement in the football world. They were also business associates and Mr Wise had invested in a number of projects with Mr Jimenez.

Tim Adams and Nicole Booth explain recent tax cases and the consequences for the taxpayer

The decision in Litman & Newall v HMRC [2013] represents another successful outcome for HMRC in their continued fight against tax avoidance. The issue in this case, which involved a marketed tax avoidance scheme, was not whether the scheme worked – this point had previously been decided in HMRC’s favour in a case involving a similar avoidance scheme (Jason Drummond v HMRC [2008]) – but whether or not the taxpayers had been negligent in signing their tax returns.

In his concluding article David Schmitz discusses the legal position for charitable trustees faced with a gagging clause

The first article on this subject (TELTJ155, April, p18) examined broadly whether the trend for governments to use charities to carry out work previously executed by government bodies could compromise a charity’s independence: it discussed the equitable principle that trustees must not fetter their discretion and it contended that charity trustees might offend against that principle if they entered into a contract containing such a clause. This article will examine that contention more closely and will conclude with some observations on confidentiality.

Ogier Legal

Robert Dobbyn examines exclusive jurisdiction clauses in the light of Crociani v Crociani [2013]

In this case the Royal Court of Jersey considered the effect of an exclusive jurisdiction clause in a deed changing the trustees of a trust. The Royal Court held that this did not have the effect of placing any restriction on the ability of beneficiaries to bring claims against former trustees for the recovery of trust assets, nor did it retrospectively change the law governing the actions of former trustees.