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Government Sponsored Research on Inheritance Tax – What’s the Motive?

On budget day the Government published some research it had commissioned into the way that potential testators and beneficiaries look at certain reliefs for inheritance tax. In particular agricultural property relief and business property relief. The research was a limited project and came to some fairly obvious conclusions.

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Grandchildren – the new executor class

At Probaters we have noticed a recent trend. People are appointing grandchildren as executors and skipping the intermediate generation. Why is this? I suppose some parents have had enough of their children and a bright grandchild is a source of joy and hope for the future. Even better if he or she is computer literate as the trend nowadays is in favour of all things digital. If a grandchild is a whizz at a spreadsheet and knows a thing or two about online assets then maybe he or she is a good choice.

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Executor appoints attorney – not always a good idea

At Probaters we often find that executors are relieved that the whole of the administration has been taken off their hands. Sometimes they just want us to step entirely into their shoes. This can be done by the executor appointing an organization or an individual to act as his or her attorney. Indeed some probate providers actively promote this because it really gives them carte blanche, not only in the way they administer the estate, but their ability to charge sometimes exorbitant fees.

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Funeral plans in the news again

There was an article in a recent weekend Guardian about funeral plans, with a headline saying more than 200,000 were sold last year but experts warn they could become a national scandal. At Probaters it is a little bit of a hobbyhorse as we have seen the dangers for a long time. The concept of a funeral plan is not bad in itself. In limited circumstances, it is a very good idea but there is no way a funeral plan should become a universal product. There are striking similarities between these plans and PPI: products sold to anyone whether needed or not and hard sellers chasing the commission.

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IHT form 205 – time for a change

With the introduction of the residential nil rate band I thought we might have a new form 205. Suppose for example a single parent has died leaving everything to his adult son, the estate includes the main residence and therefore the extra residential allowance of £100,000 is available making a total inheritance tax free sum of £425,000. It seems that you cannot use the simpler form 205 if the estate comes between £325,000 and £425,000. The formidable IHT form 400 has to be used instead.

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