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


Winter might be cold and dark but the private wealth industry keeps on spinning. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in STEP’s online UK Digests throughout January 2015 as clicked by our readers.

Planning for 2015: The January 2015 edition of Smith & Williamson’s family wealth management newsletter includes articles on the 2015 investment outlook, the budget, year-end tax-planning opportunities, flexible pensions as tax-efficient trust funds, tax-efficient investments, and the challenge of funding social care in later life.

Beneficiary of will penalised for failing to reveal lifetime gift to executors: A man who was named as residuary beneficiary of his father’s will has received a GBP87,000 penalty from HM Revenue and Customs for failing to tell the executors about a lifetime gift he received from his father via an undeclared Swiss bank account.

Conservative party signals pre-election promises on IHT: Chancellor George Osborne has told a Sunday newspaper that he and the prime minister agree that inheritance tax (IHT) should only be paid by the rich ‘and we will set out our further approach closer to the election’.

Clearer advice for solicitors who get a mention in client’s will: The Law Society [England and Wales] has updated its practice note for solicitors whose clients wish to make them a lifetime gift or leave a legacy to them or their families or colleagues. It clarifies the considerations and suggested actions for the solicitor.

Lord Howard executors gain final victory in dispute over Reynolds masterpiece: HM Revenue and Customs has been refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court following its March 2014 defeat in the case of Lord Howard of Henderskelfe. Lord Howard of Henderskelfe’s executors avoided capital gains tax on the GBP10 million sale of a Joshua Reynolds painting by classing it as a depreciating asset used in the running of his family’s country estate.

My wish is not my command: John Harper TEP explores some of the features of letters of wishes.

Deputies’ charges to be closely monitored: The Public Guardian has recommended tighter supervision of deputies, in response to MPs’ criticisms of the high charges levied by some professional deputies. The proposals include introduction of annual deputyship plans, asset inventories and charging estimates.

Bankruptcy threat to tax-planning footballers: More than 100 former Premier League footballers are said to be in serious financial difficulties after receiving accelerated payment notices from HM Revenue and Customs regarding their participation in tax-planning schemes, especially those based on film relief.

Public granted online access to wills database: HM Courts & Tribunals Service has launched a searchable online database allowing the public to obtain copies of wills at GBP10 a time, within ten working days, without having to visit the probate registry. The database contains 41 million scanned documents, of which the original paper versions will be permanently preserved.

Business relief on divested assets may be clawed back: A tax advisor at Crowe Clark Whitehill passes on rumours that the inheritance tax rules may be changed to refuse business relief on an asset that is sold by the beneficiary soon after the death of the testator.

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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