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Wills, probate and administration

IHT – personal representatives’ liability

PRs are personally liable for paying IHT on an estate, even where the beneficiaries undertake to pay it themselves but do not do so, the court has confirmed.

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Trusts – variation of trusts; capacity

The High Court (Chancery Division) has given important clarification as to the court’s jurisdiction in relation to applications under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 where there is an issue of where a child will lack capacity on reaching 18.

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Dependency claims – cohabitees

A testator’s motive for not providing for a dependant under their will is not a sufficient reason for leaving the dependant without any provision. 
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Practice – distribution of assets; bankrupts

Caution must be exercised when distributing estate assets to insolvency beneficiaries because they may not be able to obtain a good receipt.
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Proprietary estoppel – significant detriment

The High Court has given useful guidance on how it will approach proprietary estoppel claims. 
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Probate – relief against forfeiture

A recent case in which an elderly man killed his wife and then himself illustrates the effect of the forfeiture rule, and the court’s power under the Forfeiture Act 1982 in some cases to modify the effect of the rule.

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Wills – testamentary capacity; proprietary estoppel

Testamentary capacity and proprietary estoppel have been considered in a High Court case, where the court confirmed that the Banks v Goodfellow test for testamentary capacity remains good law. In this case, a claim for proprietary estoppel was not made out.

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Court of Protection – trust deputies

How does the CoP approach an application to appoint a trust corporation as a deputy? HHJ Hilder has, in a recent CoP ruling involving 36 applicants and 11 trust corporations, analysed the law on the appointment of deputies.

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Wills – out of date

The author highlights the dangers of wills that are not kept under review, and are out of date at the date of the testator’s death.

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Procedure – personal income tax

At issue in this case was whether A owed HMRC a debt in excess of the current bankruptcy level of £5,000. If he did, HMRC could serve a statutory demand on him ahead of bankruptcy proceedings. HMRC claimed that A owed a debt under s59B(5) Taxes Management Act 1970 which applies to tax payable as a result of an amendment/correction of a self-assessment under s28 ATMA.

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