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


The year is drawing to a close but there has still been plenty of activity in the private wealth sector throughout November. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in STEP’s online UK Digests throughout November as clicked by our readers.

Woman who disowned mother fails in claim on estate: A woman who wrote to her mother formally disowning her and wishing her dead has forfeited her right to a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 on her mother’s estate, the England and Wales High Court has ruled in Wright v Waters (2014 EWHC 3614 Ch).

Prison sentence for solicitor who overcharged client’s estate: Carmarthenshire solicitor John Owen has received a five-year jail sentence for charging GBP1 million of fraudulent fees to a deceased client’s estate while acting as his sole executor.

New tax planning opportunities under flexible pension drawdown rules: An expert at tax advisory firm Baker Tilly examines the inheritance tax planning opportunities offered by the new pension flexibility rules, under which families may be able to use pension funds as multi-generational trust funds.

Power of attorney cannot be used for IHT planning: The Court of Protection has ruled that a power of attorney cannot be used to organise the donor’s financial affairs for inheritance tax planning purposes without first applying for a court order under s23(4) of the Mental Capacity Act. The exception is the attorney’s s12 power to make reasonable gifts on customary occasions, said Senior Judge Lush in the case of Public Guardian v AC (2014 EWCOP 41), in which the attorney happened to be a professional financial advisor.

Brother rejected as deputy after failing to notify relatives: The England and Wales Court of Protection has ruled on the case of an elderly man, RM, who had to go into a care home following a stroke. His brother then emptied RM’s house of its contents and installed his own son as a tenant without notifying RM’s stepsons.

Professional sanctions on tax scheme promoters will trigger HMRC conduct notice: Draft regulations have been published setting out the conditions under which a tax planning scheme promoter who has been disciplined by his or her professional body will be issued with an HMRC conduct notice under the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes legislation.

Beneficiary permitted to sell farm while will is disputed: The England & Wales High Court has ordered the removal of a caution lodged at the Land Registry regarding a Derbyshire farm formerly owned by the late Arnold Seals. The caution was lodged by his adult children, who are challenging a will in which Seals left his share of the farm to a friend.

Three more tax planning schemes added to accelerated payment list: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has updated its list of tax avoidance schemes whose users may be forced to pay an accelerated payment before any tribunal has ruled on the scheme’s validity. Three schemes have been added and eight removed. Scheme users will, at some time in the next 18 months, receive a demand to pay within 90 days.

Cardigan family trustees ordered to repay remuneration and compensation: A judge in the England and Wales High Court has ordered John Moore, one of the trustees of the Cardigan family trust, to repay to the trust the sums he received in respect of remuneration (GBP118,000) and ordered his removal as trustee. The trustees have also been ordered to repay GBP64,225 to the trust by way of compensation for failing to repair and re-let a property and to take steps to obtain possession of another. (Brudenell-Bruce v Moore & others, 2014 EWHC 3679 Ch.)

Apprenticeships for probate practitioner training: The government has approved a licensed probate practitioner apprenticeship under the Trailblazer programme, aimed at boosting the number of qualified individuals entering the estates practice profession. The apprenticeship is expected to take three to five years to complete.

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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