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Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal: November 2012

David Pickering finds Sidney Ross’s updated book a valued companion

What every busy practitioner needs in this ever-faster moving legal world, where clients demand an instant answer, is a ‘trusted adviser’ near to hand.

Jo Summers examines HMRC’s consultation on relevant property charges for trusts

On 13 July 2012, HMRC published a consultation on the inheritance tax (IHT) charges that are payable by certain trusts. The stated aim of the consultation is to make those charges easier to calculate, and easier to administer, without any loss to the Exchequer. That is a laudable goal, but is it actually possible?

Guy Rendell and Matthew Hansell discuss the tax-planning opportunities that can arise upon divorce

As all private client practitioners know, trusts offer considerable benefits: flexibility, protection, control and tax efficiency. Unfortunately, to take advantage of these benefits and fund lifetime trusts there is the bulwark in the shape of an immediate 20% charge to inheritance on assets entering most lifetime interest in possession and discretionary trusts in excess of the inheritance tax free nil rate band of £325,000 (£650,000 for married couples as joint settlors). This can act as a significant deterrent against making significant lifetime gifts into trust.

Victoria Sweeting considers the unusual case of Howard v Howard-Lawson

In October 2011 the case of Howard v Howard-Lawson [2011] came before the Court of Appeal. The case concerned the construction of a name and arms clause in a will made over 80 years ago. The fact that this was the first time in 50 years that the Court of Appeal had had to consider a name and arms clause suggests just how obscure these kind of clauses now are. However, although Howard does not provide any important practice points, it does raise some thought provoking issues: while many would agree that name and arms clauses are now anachronistic, are the courts any less inclined to uphold them now than they were 50 years ago?

Judith Millar and John Darnton guide the private client adviser through the minefield of cross-border pre-nups

While private client lawyers often like to think that they know their clients well, and approach the planning of their legal and tax affairs with a great deal of care, it is the affairs of the heart that can spring a few surprises. The voicemail message on Monday morning is short and upbeat, ‘Hi, it’s Robert, I’ve just got engaged, the wedding’s in seven weeks’ time and my mother says I need a pre-nup. Can you sort it out?’

Lucy Edwards outlines the changes in the second edition of the STEP Standard Provisions

The following scenario will be familiar to many practitioners:

Edward Rowntree gives an update on Morris v Davies

The first half of this case was the subject of my article ‘Family politics’, TEL&TJ132, October 2012, p18 and concerned the issue of domicile. At the conclusion of that trial, and domicile having been decided in favour of Mr Morris, the executor, the parties’ legal teams considered the remainder of the action and set about knocking it into shape and making it ready for trial. At that stage, it looked as though it was going to be a long, hard fight in relation to just about every way in which a will could be impugned. Sadly (from a legal perspective), but positively from the point of view of the personal representative, Mr Morris, the opposition to his straightforward application fell away. The decision of Mr Robert Ham QC, sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court, on costs contains a very useful review of the costs discretion open to the court at the conclusion of contentious probate matters and gives helpful insight into the need for and utility of mediation.

Richard Wilson explains how intention is being given greater weight in will construction

As I write this piece, the newspaper, television and internet media are full of coverage of the US presidential elections. From an entertainment perspective, this year’s campaign has had the odd moment of interest, but nothing to compare with Hillary Clinton’s famous ‘Misspeaking’ incident during the primary campaign in 2008. For those who do not recall it, Mrs Clinton famously gave a speech where she recalled a visit she made to Bosnia in 1996 when she was First Lady. Her account of the landing in Tuzla was as follows: