Case Studies Wills, Probate & Tax
Our client was a recently bereaved widow who wished to sell the family home and move abroad to be near relatives. The widow was frail and reluctant to act in the estate administration. There was no Will or any children of the marriage. We suggested to the client that she could appoint one of our private client solicitors who are members of STEP (Society for Trusts and Estate Practitioners) to be her attorney. Under the power of attorney our solicitor was able to quickly apply for probate on the widow’s behalf, to cash in the assets of the estate and to sell the family home within a short period of time. This enabled resources to be efficiently transferred to the widow overseas to pay for her new accommodation.
Our client had received over £100,000 in damages from a personal injury claim that had been successfully handled by Jobling Gowler. The injuries suffered resulted in unemployment for our client and he was in receipt of means-tested benefits. In order to protect the receipt of benefits, we advised our client to transfer the sum of damages into a personal injury trust. This is because awards held within personal injury trusts are ‘disregarded’ capital for means-tested purposes.
We drafted the personal injury trust and met with our client and his chosen co-trustees to explain the trust clauses and advise how money could be used legitimately to pay for non-essential items such as holidays and meals out. We liaised with an Independent Financial Advisor to invest the damages in an accessible account. Our client was then secure in knowing that his state benefits were secure, allowing him to seek employment as his health improved.
Our client was a daughter who required legal assistance to apply for a Grant of Probate to her late mother’s estate. The Grant of Probate could not issue until inheritance tax had been paid. Although the estate was valued within the double nil rate band for inheritance tax purposes, there had been substantial gifts made by the deceased in the seven years before her death. These gifts would effectively absorb the available nil rate band, resulting in a high inheritance tax liability. We were able to assist in identifying that many of the gifts had been made out of surplus income. We helped prepare the inheritance schedule IHT403 to show that the gifting out of surplus income exemption could be claimed by the estate. This resulted in a much reduced liability to inheritance tax and the daughter could distribute a higher proportion of the estate to the Will beneficiaries.
Our client had recently been diagnosed with a form of dementia. She had been strongly recommended by her consultant that she consider making arrangements so that her family could assist her with managing her bank accounts and other property and finances in the future. We were able to register both a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs and a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare for our client ensuring that her family had the necessary authority to make decisions on their mother’s behalf in relation to both her financial affairs and what treatment she received (or did not receive) in the future.
On our advice our client instructed us to appoint her three children as Attorneys on a joint and several basis. This meant that they could all act together but they could also act independently of each other as this would be more flexible bearing in mind that they did not all see their mother at the same time. The added advantage of this was that the document would continue to be effective even if one of her children could no longer act. Putting these documents in place provided our client and her family with valuable peace of mind and in turn protected the family from unnecessary upset when her health subsequently deteriorated and she was unable to make important decisions for herself.