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Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal: November 2016

Geoffrey Shindler muses on the pace of change

The French have a phrase for it, ‘plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose’. Not the case (how often are the French wrong!) in the case of pay and the legal profession. I qualified in 1969 and my salary was the princely sum of £1,500 a year. That itself was a massive percentage increase on my pay as a second year articled clerk, which was £416 a year. I have never had a pay rise that was so large in percentage terms. So what do I feel now when I read in the newspapers that newly qualified lawyers in some of the firms operating in the City of London are earning well over £100k per annum? Definitely not ‘la meme chose’.

Lisa Feng examines the implications of Swift v Ahmed [2015]

The case of Swift Advances Plc v Ahmed [2016] is an example of what was referred to by Norris J in the case as the ‘deed in the drawer’ phenomenon. This is the situation where a person (in this case, Mr Ahmed) appears to be the owner of a property on the land register but when enforcement proceedings are issued, a deed is produced and relied upon to show that the entire beneficial interest in the property is actually held on trust for someone else (in this case, for Mr Ahmed’s wife).

Keystone Law

Gillian Christian highlights a landmark Isle of Man judgment that casts doubt on Pitt v Holt [2013]

In the first ever decision in the Isle of Man courts on the Hastings-Bass principle and on the law relating to equitable mistake following Pitt v Holt [2013], Deemster Doyle delivered a judgment that demonstrates clearly that UK and Isle of Man law are not one and the same, in a trusts case that explicitly recognises differences in approach and outcome between the two legal systems. The judgment has substantial implications for professional trustees, as well as for those who advise them, as it puts the onus on trustees to take tax advice or face claims for breach of duty, but gives comfort to settlors and beneficiaries who are keen to maintain the confidentiality of their family trust structures.

BDO LLP

Paul Crean asks whether the FATCA and Common Reporting Standard status of all trusts is being considered

Many smaller entities, in particular trusts, still appear to believe that the legislation only relates to large, traditional financial organisations with US investments, and can be safely ignored. However, it is certain that large numbers of trusts and personal investment companies will also be caught by the definition of ‘financial institution’ (FI), and have to register, and potentially report, regardless of whether they have US investments or, in the case of the Common Reporting Standard, US account holders. Even where a trust is not an FI, it may well find that financial information about beneficiaries is being reported to a variety of overseas tax authorities for scrutiny.

Paul Marshall discusses a case which explores relief from liability for breach of trust under the Trustee Act 1925

The judgment of His Honour Judge Mark Pelling QC, sitting as a judge of the Chancery Division, in Purrunsing v A’Court & Co and House Owners Conveyancing [2016], has attracted the interest of conveyancers and their insurers because a vendor’s conveyancing solicitor (AC) was held liable to the intending purchaser (P) of a property, the victim of identity fraud, despite being wholly innocent of the fraud and without knowledge or suspicion of it. Seemingly the decision runs counter to the widely held perception that a vendor’s solicitor in an identity fraud, innocent of their own client’s wrongdoing, is just as much a victim as the intending purchaser.

Sarah Clune considers the timetable for the introduction of the regulator’s new powers under the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016

The UK government published a timetable during the summer explaining when the different sections of the newly enacted Charities Act will come into effect in England and Wales. The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 (Commencement No 1 and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2016 were made on 27 July 2016.

Farrer & Co

Deborah Pennington and James Bromley give the lowdown on tax changes for private clients

UK residential property is a valuable asset, properties in London particularly so. Historically, the advantageous tax treatment available to both non-residents and non-domiciled clients holding UK residential property has only increased the attractiveness of this asset class for clients, whether it is for personal occupation or as part of a rental business.