Probate and estates

Probate delays and online probate service: An update

In our Spring e-bulletin Kerry Rogers reported on the significant delays being experienced in the issue of grants of probate. It was hoped that these delays would be short-lived and although there are still delays there does appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Michael Culver, Chairman of Solicitors for the Elderly recently attended a meeting with HMCTS and has reported the following main points:

Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and cryptoassets – a practical guide for executors and legacy managers

Many will have seen stories in the news about cryptocurrencies and what can happen when the owner who has sole access to the password dies. The Independent recently reported on the death of Gerald Cotten, the chief executive of the QuadrigaCX exchange, who was believed to have had the only password to £145 million of cryptocurrency.

Can you claim additional Inheritance Tax Relief?

The Residence Nil Rate Band is an additional Inheritance Tax allowance that can be claimed for estates where the deceased owned their own home and left their home, or a share of it, to their direct descendants.

The current additional allowance is £150,000 and will increase to £175,000 in April 2020. This means that in April 2020 married couples and civil partners will potentially be able to claim Inheritance Tax allowances totalling £1million.

However, there are significant limitations to when the additional Residence Nil Rate Band can be claimed:

What you need to know about an increase in probate fees

Advice is on hand for people worried about an increase in probate fees, which was set to come in to force April 2019.

The fees will be calculated on the basis of the estate, meaning those with estates worth more than £2,000,000 will have to pay £6,000.

“There is a lot of concern about the plan to increase probate fees, which has been published by the Government but without guidance on how the system will work." said Sarah Clarke, a Solicitor in Stone King’s Trusts and Estates team.

National law firm Stone King secures major hires and announces raft of partner promotions

Stone King is delighted to announce that Julian Blake, formerly joint head of Charity and Social Enterprises at Bates Wells Braithwaite, and commercial property lawyer Caroline Taylor, formerly partner at Michelmores LLP, have joined the national law firm as partners. The firm has also made five new partner promotions across the business.

‘To my unborn child'

Posthumous conception and reproduction

As a result of advances in medical technology, such as freezing and storing embryos, it is possible for a child to be born and also conceived after a parent’s death, e.g. more commonly, through artificial insemination or in vitro fertilisation (‘IVF’) using frozen sperm or eggs extracted during the parent’s lifetime.

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