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Missing at sea

Missing at sea

A couple of years ago we had a case where the deceased went “missing at sea”. His wife had to make a claim for a declaration of presumed death. Although he had not been missing for more than 7 years it was clear that he had died and that he went missing following a boating accident. But a missing person is not automatically presumed dead. You must make a claim for declaration of presumed death if you want to deal with the estate.

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A tip for will makers

A tip for will makers

Although an English will can deal with assets all over the world, in most cases it makes sense to prepare a specific will or other arrangement dealing with an asset in a foreign country, even if it is simply a bank account. Your executors will be thankful. In many cases we find that there are tremendous delays resulting from efforts to establish the validity of the English will in a foreign jurisdiction. It can be done but it does take time, and often a long time.

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It’s only funeral expenses and liabilities at death

its only funeral expenses and liabilities at death

It is surprising how many people think that legal costs during probate and other expenses incurred during the administration period can, in some way, reduce the value of an estate for inheritance tax purposes. When this misunderstanding is pointed out people do tend to see the logic. What counts is the value of the estate as at the date of death.

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Quiet times, can they last?

Quiet times can they last

Here at Probaters we have noticed that transactions have been dealt with at breakneck speed by both the Land Registry and our local Probate Registry. Early in December we took instructions for a probate and obtained the grant by the end of the month and had the property transferred to trustees in the first week of January! I fear that the state of the property market might mean that we see Land Registry staff with time on their hands for quick turnarounds. Unfortunately the state of the NHS and the flu epidemic does not augur quite so well for leisure at the Probate Registries.

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The Unfair Residential Allowance

the unfair residential allowance

This is good news for people owning a house or flat who have children. They get an extra £100,000 on their inheritance tax free allowance making a total of £425,000 and this is increasing each tax year to 2020 when it will be £500,000 making a total of £1 million for married couples and civil partners. But it clearly discriminates against those without children. The rules are also extremely complex, in particular, when they try to deal with someone who has sold his or her house and downsized. 

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