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Freedom of Testation

Freedom of Testation

Basically what this legal phrase means is the unfettered ability of anyone to make a will deciding exactly who will inherit his or her estate. The freedom is great in this country and in most American states but much less common in Europe and other jurisdictions where Roman law has had more influence on the development of legal systems. Even here the courts have generously interpreted the Inheritance Family Provision Act to enable the disinherited to make successful claims.

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Tax Again – stamp duty land tax

Tax Again stamp duty land tax

The good news for those in the world of probate is that stamp duty land tax is seldom an issue. Transfers of property and land from estates to beneficiaries are free of tax. But, if beneficiaries are going to use their inheritance to purchase a property or some more property, then SDLT will raise its ugly head. It used to be a simple tax – a straight percentage above a certain value. But of course in recent years the tax has been made more onerous and complicated. The government was able to collect £2.5 billion from the tax in the fourth quarter of 2017. That was 5% higher than the comparable period of 2016. 

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The Importance of an Inventory

The Importance of an Inventory

Executors and administrators have to swear or affirm the following statement before they can get a grant of probate or letters of administration:-

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Tax and Complexity – closing remarks

It is now accepted wisdom that societies are becoming more unequal. Fewer people at the top are holding more and more of the wealth, while those at the bottom struggle to make a living with a reducing number of supports which were available in the past. For example, secure employment, final salary pension schemes, affordable housing, a functioning NHS etc etc. Complexity must be playing a part. Only governments and huge businesses really have the resources to profit from the opportunities of digitalization. What may emerge is a kind of deal between governments and the Googles and Amazons by which the latter agree to increase their tax contributions in return for being left alone to capitalize on their semi-monopoly positions.

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Simplifying Inheritance Tax – where do you start?

Simplifying Inheritance Tax where do you start

Philip Hammond, our beleaguered Chancellor of Exchequer, has taken some time off from his Brexit woes to refer inheritance tax to the Office for Tax Simplification. Not many people know about the OTS. It seems an unlikely creation, something like an Office for Finding Needles in Haystacks. You just know it is never going to work. Over the post war years English tax law has become increasingly complex at ever increasing speed. A tip for Brexiteers: make a serious commitment to overhaul and really simplify the English tax system.

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