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


Summer might be over but there’s still plenty going on in the private wealth sector and you might need to catch up on the big industry news stories. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in the STEP online Digests throughout September most clicked by our readers.

Amendments to intestacy and reasonable provision rules: The rules of intestacy change this week, with the coming into force of the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 on Wednesday 1 October. The Act could also make it easier for some cohabitants to make a reasonable provision claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

HMRC provides updates on automatic reporting rules: HM Revenue & Customs has created a new web page to keep practitioners updated on reporting issues for the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and its other international agreements for automatic information exchange. It has also published new guidance on the FATCA implementation regulations, albeit with only minor amendments.

Rawlings solicitor’s insurers must pay all costs: The insurers of a negligent solicitor have been ordered to pay all the costs of both parties in the Marley v Rawlings contentious probate case. The solicitor had drafted mirror wills for Mr and Mrs Rawlings but inadvertently allowed each to execute the other’s will.

Analysis of the Freud secret trust case: An analysis of the Lucien Freud case by Professor Lesley King. Freud left most of his very substantial estate into a secret trust, the validity of which was challenged after Freud’s death by a relative who would have inherited under the intestacy rules. (Executors of Lucien Freud v Paul McAdam Freud, 2014 EWHC 2577 Ch)

Opening of market to accountants ‘will cut fees by a third’: Accountants who offer probate services could undercut the standard solicitors’ fee by a third, according to one of the firms preparing to enter the market.

Another attack on trusts: It is difficult to see the UK government’s proposed ‘settlement nil-rate band’ as anything other than the latest assault on trusts, writes Martyn Gowar.

Second homes reclassified as businesses to save council tax: Owners of second homes are increasingly reclassifying the properties as holiday lets in order to avoid council tax and take advantage of the current 100 per cent small business rate relief.

HMRC guidance clarifies meaning of ‘professionally managed trust’: According to tax advisors Baker Tilly, HM Revenue & Customs’ new guidance on the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act makes some things clearer for trustees of UK family trusts. For example, the trust will be classed as professionally managed (and thus need to register as an investment entity) where trustees have appointed a financial institution to carry out the day to day functions of the trust or where the financial institution manages the financial assets and manages the investment strategy.

Labour Party announces mansion tax plan: The Labour Party has promised to introduce an annual wealth tax on high-value property if it gains power in next May’s general election. The Liberal Democrats have already committed to a similar policy.

Death benefits tax regime to be eased: From April 2015, a defined contribution pension fund left by someone who dies before they turn 75 can be passed on to anyone as a tax-free lump sum even if it was already in drawdown. For a person dying aged 75 or over, the tax on a pension pot left as a lump sum will be reduced from 55 to 45 per cent, or alternatively the pot can be passed on as a drawdown fund.

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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