STEP UK News Digest wrap-up – July’s top stories


On the go and looking for takeaway news? Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in the STEP online Digests throughout July. In case you missed them, here are the top STEP UK News Digest stories most clicked by our readers.

Practitioners must anticipate relevant property trust charges: Practical Law has provided a detailed legal update on HMRC’s proposals to alter the inheritance tax charges on relevant property trusts, under which settlors will be given a settlement nil-rate band to allocate between their trusts. Practitioners must take these proposals into account in clients’ estate planning now.

Government abandons new charity definition for tax purposes: HM Revenue & Customs has dropped its plans to redefine ‘charity’ for tax purposes, because both of its proposed definitions would have a ‘disproportionate and unacceptable’ effect upon the charity sector and legitimate donors.

Form R27 to be replaced with three new forms: The standard R27 form dealing with the deceased’s income tax liability is to be dropped in October. Instead, HM Revenue & Custom will send one of three alternative form letters, either seeking information about the personal representative, or confirming that the PR need take no action, or asking the PR to complete a self-assessment return.

Opening a trustee account at a high street bank: Which, if any, high street banks still offer trustee current accounts? Practitioners discuss those that do and don’t, the favourite appearing to be Handelsbanken.

Law Commission plans reform of 1837 Act regime: The Law Commission (England and Wales) is planning fundamental changes to the law on wills and testamentary capacity to take account of changes in social norms, technology and medicine. The reforms will aim to reduce the number of wills being challenged and to make it easier to rectify will-drafting mistakes after death.

Artist left vast fortune to secret trust beneficiaries: It has emerged that the artist Lucian Freud, who died in 2011, left his residuary estate of GBP42 million jointly to his solicitor and a daughter – but secretly subject to a trust with undisclosed beneficiaries. This week the England & Wales High Court rejected an attempt by one of Freud’s illegitimate sons to have the will clause declared invalid on the basis that it was a half-secret, not a fully secret, trust.

Some recent Court of Protection cases: The July issue of 39 Essex Street’s mental capacity law newsletter covers some cases on deputies, undue influence and the Court of Protection, and the duty of attorneys in continuing healthcare disputes. The Scottish section includes a case on the proper duration of guardianship and an update on the Mental Health Bill.

Yachts used to impress customers were legitimate expense: A couple who operated a high-prestige management training business have been permitted to write off the cost of their ocean-going yachts against income tax – but not their diamond necklaces and antique clocks.

Marketed schemes are doomed but individual planning will survive: A briefing paper from Farrer considers the future of tax planning in the UK in the face of government-inspired media hostility. It concludes that highly artificial marketed schemes will no longer work, but bespoke long-term tax planning for individual clients is still on the table.

Tax tips for trusts turning ten: Robert Jamieson TEP reviews some inheritance tax aspects of disrectionary trusts.

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.

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