Trusts – Court Relieves Family of Severe Tax Consequences of Drafting Error

18th June, 2021 By

Trusts are delicate and often complex legal instruments and any flaws in the wording of documents relating to them can have grave tax and other consequences. As a High Court case showed, however, inadvertent drafting errors can be corrected. The case concerned two trusts of which a widow and her son, her only child, were trustees and beneficiaries. They contained assets worth over £700,000, including a half share in the widow's home. By deeds of appointment, the son was granted life interests in both trust funds. The effect was that...

Making a Will? Don't Forget Those Entitled to Look to You for Support

14th June, 2021 By

When making your will, it is vital to remember those who have a right to look to you for financial support. As a High Court case showed, a failure to meet your duties to your dependants is highly likely to trigger a costly dispute – and ultimately judicial intervention – after you are gone. The case concerned a businessman who died from an incurable lung condition at the age of just 41, leaving an estate valued at over £800,000 for probate. By a will made shortly before his death, he...

Joint Tenancy or Tenancy in Common? This is Why It Really Matters

10th June, 2021 By

If you are purchasing a property with a partner, friend, family member or anyone else, your solicitor is bound to ask you whether you intend to own it as joint tenants or tenants in common. A High Court case showed why that is likely to be one of the most important questions you ever have to answer. The case concerned a wealthy unmarried couple who bought a country house for £1.5 million to serve as their holiday and weekend home. The man paid the entirety of the purchase price and...

High Court Ponders Habitual Residence Test in Case of Orphaned Schoolgirl

7th June, 2021 By

The legal concept of habitual residence is a notoriously slippery one, but the ease of global travel has rendered it ever more important in the field of family law. The point was powerfully made by the case of an orphaned schoolgirl who was born in Britain but whom a US citizen was desperate to adopt. The girl was aged three when her mother died. Her father had no relationship with her mother and had no parental responsibility for her. A US citizen who had for six years grown up in...