The Government has announced that the temporary legislation to allow the remote signing of Wills, is not being extended beyond 31st January 2024, marking a significant move backwards towards traditional legal formalities.
The temporary measures were put in place during the COVID pandemic, to allow people to get their Will in place whilst respecting the limitations imposed by lockdowns. Originally allowed until January 2022 and then further extended until January 2024, the legislation was particularly invaluable for those self- isolating due to health concerns.
Whilst removing the flexibility for some, it does highlight the importance of ensuring the correct witnessing of critical documents. Wills are highly contested documents and security of the signing process needs to be protected particularly for the vulnerable.
A Will is not just a document. It sets out a person’s final wishes and we have a duty of care to protect these wishes once the person has died. For us at Pavilion Row, this also extends to checking any concerns regarding undue influence, potential fraud or lack of capacity so that we can put in place measures to minimise the success if a claim is ever made.
The digitalisation of making a Will, both regarding how we give the instructions and the signing of the document, will continue to be debated and evolve. However, it remains that the process for creating and signing of a Will must be robust so that a person’s wishes can be protected and fulfilled.
The office will be closed between 23rd December and 1st January, reopening on the 2nd January 2024. If you have an urgent query please call the office number. Our out-of-hours answering service will be able to take a message. These messages will be checked periodically by a member of staff and dealt with appropriately,
We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll.
Our thoughts and condolences are with the Royal Family at this time.
In honour of Her Majesty, and to give our staff the opportunity to pay their respects, we will be closing the office Monday 19 September, the date of Her Majesty’s State Funeral.
The Trust Registration Service “TRS” deadline of 1st September 2022 for non-taxable trusts is now only a matter of weeks away and all the indications are that there are many trusts that remain unregistered.
It is important that all Trustees understand the need to register a trust, including those that they may not even be aware of!
Which trusts are affected?
The majority of non-taxable trusts are now within the scope of the registration regime.
This includes lifetime Trusts but, importantly, also Trusts set up by a Will when somebody dies.
Will Trusts are often “passive” trusts which can easily be overlooked or forgotten about by Trustees. For example, a Life Interest Trust containing a share of the property. If the life tenant (often the spouse) remains living in the property, it is easy to forget or not realise that there is a Trust which needs to be registered.
What are a trustee’s responsibilities?
Legal responsibility for registration falls on the trustees, and it is a matter for trustees to decide and appoint a lead trustee to do this.
The trustees are required to keep accurate and up-to-date written records of the beneficial owners, including settlors (the people who established the trust), trustees, and beneficiaries.
The lead trustee is also required to update the register within 90 days of any changes/ updates occurring.
What happens if you do not register a trust with the TRS?
There is a legal obligation for trustees to register the trust. If you do not register the trust or keep the details on the register up to date, HMRC may impose penalties and fines for non-compliance.
Please contact us if you would like any advice.
Congratulations to our colleagues Jade Peckett and Will Morris for passing their STEP Advanced Certificate in Taxation of Trusts and Estates.
A very tough exam!
We are aware that our phone system is currently down. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you ASAP
When used appropriately, trusts can be a great way to protect assets. However, too often they are sold by unregulated firms as the ultimate solution for everything, promising to protect the family home from care fees, minimise Tax, and prevent probate costs.
These schemes are expensive, risky (as they may not work), totally inappropriate for many, and difficult to get out of.
A recent article in ‘This is Money’ is well worth a read to appreciate real life examples of the extent and scope of the problems that these sales tactics have caused.
There was also a segment on BBC’s RIP off Britain, last week, interviewing families affected by these types of trusts, often marketed as products such as, ‘The Family Property Probate Trust’, ‘Family Probate Preservation Trust’, or ‘Lifetime Living Trusts’
Important, this is a specialist area of law. Anyone considering this type of planning must first speak directly to somebody who is fully qualified to give advice.
Please see our factsheet for further information.
Once you have made an LPA appointing your attorney/s, for your attorney to use the document it must first be registered by the Office of Public Guardian (OPG)
Pre pandemic the registration process would take circa 8 weeks, it can now take 20 weeks and the process is littered with errors.
An industry body has recently written an open letter to the OPG asking them to address the problem. However, while we wait and hope that the issues are resolved, our advice to clients is – BE PREPARE and make an LPA now before it is needed. Without a registered LPA your attorneys simply will not be able to act.
As of the 1st September 2021, our main office will relocate to Sheffield.
The decision for this has been based on opportunities given to us to further grow and develop our team. The management team has not changed and our ethos and commitment to providing a high level of service remains the same.
Although the main office has now relocated to Sheffield, we do still have representatives in York available to meet with our clients.
Emilda Morgans has joined us as director and Head of Legal.
Emilda first join us in January 2020 as a temporary consultant solicitor but we are delighted that she has decided to stay.
Emilda has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Private Client Law and we are very excited to have her on board
Why reducing your clients inheritance tax should be at the top of their New Year resolutions.
If the dawning of a New Year has anything is common with the last, it’s the resolutions that many of us choose to set. Often set with genuine intent, resolutions have a habit of falling by the wayside somewhat. And if we’re honest, it’s completely understandable. We’ve all been there; the New Year resolutions are set, you even outline initial provisions – but somehow, life just gets in the way. This is a common theme, particularly when it comes to Financial Planning and Inheritance Tax considerations.
As your clients trusted advisor, few know your clients financial circumstances better than you. It’s likely your client has, to some extent, looked into how they might be able to reduce their overall IHT liability. In many instances though, the information that is readily available can reinforce false perceptions; that to reduce your IHT liability you need complicated schemes that will be scrutinised by HMRC.
But for many this can’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of options for standard IHT planning before you need to think about complex and aggressive solutions.
We often come across clients in later life with assets over the IHT band and good incomes that they are saving. But for every extra pound they save they only save 60p i.e. their eventual beneficiaries will be giving 40p to HMRC in IHT!
For these clients gifts out of income are an excellent way to minimise IHT – and one that is often overlooked.
But what is classed as ‘income’? And what criteria will HMRC apply when accepting gifts out of income?
Gifts out of income are extremely valuable as there is no maximum amount (as long as they fit within the above criteria). They can provide substantial IHT savings and are simple – but they MUST be done correctly and well documented to ensure they don’t form part of HMRC ‘s IHT calculations.
It’s important that your client is given the right advice before the time comes. Reducing their overall IHT liability will strengthen the relationship not just with your client, but with their extended family too.
Here at Pavilion Row, we are specialists in Wills, Probate and Trusts – and we’re always here to offer advice and support. If you have any queries regarding the above or would like to understand more about how decisions made now affect what happens in probate, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.