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The latest on the residential nil-rate band

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According to press reports it seems a strong possibility that certain estates have not been claiming this extra inheritance tax allowance which applies when residential property is left to the children (including step-children and adopted children) and to grandchildren or other direct descendants.  The provisions governing its application are complex.  Possibly those administering estates themselves without expert assistance are missing out. 

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Executors – don’t forget to investigate gifts

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Most people know that if you fail to survive a gift by 7 years it will form part of your estate.  It is likely that banks will co-operate with HMRC if the tax men are suspicious about whether gifts have been properly declared.  An investigation could follow that will be uncomfortable for executors and could mean additional tax and fines as well. 

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When should you review your will?

When should you review your will

As a general guide we advise clients to review their wills as a matter of course every 5 years but there are some life-changing events which should prompt anyone to bring a possible change to the top of his or her agenda and they are:- getting married or divorced, having children, the death of one of your beneficiaries or an executor or guardian, a substantial financial change – for example a business sale or similar, and more common perhaps, moving house.

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Greek holiday homes

Greek holiday homes

If you are an executor dealing with a holiday home in Greece the likelihood is that the estate might want to keep it, especially given the dire state of the Greek economy.  In theory, Greek law is amenable to implementing the wishes of a foreign testator but, as with most foreign countries, the best advice is to get a will done in Greece dealing specifically with a Greek holiday home similar assets located in the country.

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Divorce – does it cancel my will?

Divorce does it cancel my will

Unlike marriage, a divorce does not cancel an existing will. An existing will remains valid except that any gift to your former husband or wife takes effect as if he or she had died on the date of the decree absolute. The usual effect of this is that the gift will fall into the residue for the benefit of the residuary beneficiaries. If the former spouse had been left everything then the practical effect of this is that you will be intestate as far as the residue is concerned. If you had appointed your ex as an executor, the will is still valid but takes effect as if he or she had died on the date of the decree absolute. For these reasons it is obvious that, although divorce does not cancel a will, it can seriously mess it up so the advice has to be: get expert advice on probate and make a new will as soon as you know that your marriage is on the rocks.

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