Wills and estate planning

Making a Will that's right for you

Inheritance tax relief extended to the family home, but with strings

The new main residence nil rate band will mean there will be less inheritance tax to pay on the family home for deaths from April 2017 provided it is left to a close relative, defined as children or grandchildren.

The relief will be fully available by 2020, increasing from £100,000 in April 2017 to £175,000, when up to £1m can be left tax free by a married couple in certain circumstances rather than the existing £650,000, two nil rate bands of £325,000. This equates to a further maximum inheritance tax saving of £140,000.

Equitable mistake; how a +£150,000 tax bill was cancelled

The High Court has agreed to set aside a father's gift of a house into trust for his daughter that attracted unexpected inheritance tax (IHT) charge of £156,000.

Melanie Freedman was an unmarried mother with little income or other resources. In 2010, she asked her father to lend her £530,000 to buy a house for her and her child to live in while she was selling her previous home.

One good turn…. A pensioner leaves his entire estate to a builder who cleaned his gutter without charge

Mr Butcher, 75, a bachelor from North London changed his Will to disinherit his cousin and two family friends and left his entire estate valued at £500,000 to a builder who had reportedly cleaned his gutter without charge.

The previous beneficiaries of his Will claimed that Mr Butcher did not know and approve the contents of his Will. However, their inability to provide evidence to support this led the court to uphold the Will in favour of builder, Daniel Sharp.

Mr Butcher and Mr Sharp met in 2009 and remained friends after the original gutter-clearing job.

What happens to our social media accounts when we die?

What happens to all our social media when we die? It depends on the accounts you hold.


Facebook has launched its ‘Legacy Contact’ feature. Historically, Facebook froze the accounts of deceased users, however this feature allows users to designate a person who will receive limited posthumous access to their account.

This represents a significant change for one of the most-used online services in history and signifies the growing importance of how online accounts are treated after a user dies.

Care system receives 60 year overhaul

Today sees that arrival of the long awaited Care Act 2014.

With the UK’s population living longer and leading more active lives well into retirement, it is recognised that England’s health and social care system has not kept up with the demands of an ageing population.  The Care Act represents the biggest overhaul in the care system for over 60 years and includes rights for those receiving care and those who provide it to their friends and family members. 

Changes introduced by the Care Act today include the following:

A 2015 text book proprietary estoppel case; farmers and business owners beware

Proprietary estoppel arises when someone is given a clear assurance that they will acquire a right over property, they reasonably rely on the assurance and they act substantially to their detriment on the strength of the assurance.

Cardiff's High Court has awarded £1.3 million to Eirian Davies to settle her proprietary estoppel claim on her parents' Carmarthenshire farm.

Miss Davies worked for many years for the farming business for little, or no, payment on the understanding that it would eventually be hers.

Executors gunning for 5 years in prison? How do you deal with the deceased’s firearm or shotgun?

There are over 170,000 firearms licences and in the region of 620,000 shotgun licenses on issue in the UK.

Main offences relating to firearms and shotguns

Under the Firearms Act 1968 (‘FA 1968’) it is an offence to have in possession or to purchase or acquire a firearm or a shotgun without an authorised certificate; the offences are strict liability so there is no defence.

Who do they think they are? Wills made available online to the public

People will be able to find out more about their family histories as millions of Wills are made available to the public through a searchable online database.

The project will also help people research the last wishes of some of the most influential people of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The database is the result of an innovative project conducted by H M Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and a storage information management company and will enable access to the Government’s archive of 41 million Wills dating back to 1858.

Parkinson’s UK teams up with Stone King to give practical advice and share invaluable information and ideas on support networks

Parkinson’s and me: creating your safety net, finding the balance

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s can take away your control of everyday life and all those things you take for granted.

Join us on Tuesday 3 February 2015 to hear how others have dealt with their own Parkinson’s diagnoses and how they have created personal ‘safety nets’ to take back control and go on living as normally as possible.

The speakers, which will constitute the expert panel, will discuss living and working with Parkinson’s, accessing care and anticipating financial concerns.


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