STEP News Digest wrap-up – June’s top stories

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On the go and need to get up to speed? Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in the STEP online Digests throughout June. In case you missed them, here are the top STEP News Digest stories most clicked by our readers.

New plan for splitting nil-rate bands across multiple trustsHMRC has amended its proposal to split an individual settlor’s inheritance tax nil-rate band (NRB) across all trusts he or she sets up. Its new idea is to give each settlor a settlement NRB as well as the personal NRB, and require them to declare how the extra NRB is to be allocated among all their trusts.

Lessons from Parry pension benefits decision: This month Squire Sanders’ Tax Bulletin examines the judicial guidance in Parry v HMRC on the tax consequences of failing to take pension benefits before death; the new rules on deduction of liabilities when calculating inheritance tax; HMRC’s current tactic of challenging claims for principal private residence relief on the criterion of ‘residence’ rather than ‘principal’; and its extraordinary approach to penalties in the Gardner case.

Treatment of trusts clarified: With the coming into force of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act tomorrow (1 July), HM Revenue & Customs has explained how it will treat trusts that own assets managed by a financial institution. The clarification also applies to the new British regulations requiring the Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar to report client information to the UK.

Sheriff’s ‘bombshell’ decision renders most Scottish powers of attorney invalid: Scottish solicitors are being warned to review the wording of all continuing powers of attorneys they have prepared. Most such CPAs may be invalid because they are based on the standard template on the website of Scotland’s Office of the Public Guardian, which according to a recent decision of Glasgow Sheriff Court does not comply with the Adults with Incapacity Act.

Government plans to promote LPAs and will-making: The government is to hold a ‘life planning day’ next year to raise awareness of lasting powers of attorney and other life planning mechanisms including will-making and advance decisions. It wants the registering of LPAs to become a matter of course similar to taking out a life assurance policy.

The 15 foreign banks whose clients will be shut out of amnesty: A US law firm specialising in foreign bank account reporting issues names 15 overseas banks whose clients are especially at risk from the new amnesty rules. Taxpayers with unreported foreign accounts at these banks only have until 1 July to decide whether to participate in the offshore voluntary disclosure initiative.

Widow wins battle to bury Scottish soldier: A soldier who was killed three years ago is to be buried in a place chosen by his widow and not his mother, Forfar Sheriff Court has ruled.

Last-minute guidance on form-filling: On the eve of the coming into force of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the US Internal Revenue Service has issued several long-awaited guidance documents to help foreign financial institutions and US clients complete the associated forms.

Protection for charities against known rogues: The new parliamentary session will see the enactment of a Protection of Charities Bill, to defend charities against ‘people who present a known risk’, and to help the Charity Commission take action against individuals and charities in cases of abuse.

Daughters challenge legacy to mother’s boyfriend: The daughters of the late Elizabeth Walker are challenging a will in which their mother left a significant share of her estate to a much younger cohabitant. Alison Walker and Jennifer Rowan allege that their mother lacked capacity because she had a brain tumour, which caused her death a few months after she executed the will.

The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. The News Digests also feature job listings from our recruitment site and list local STEP branch events and conferences. STEP’s digest services include twice weekly UK and Wealth Structuring (international) editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Digest.

To subscribe to STEP’s digest services you will need to first register here: http://www.step.org/register

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