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Wills, probate and administration

Wills – new EU law

New EU cross-border inheritance laws are now in place, allowing individuals to opt out of the forced heirship rules that apply in a number of EU countries. Individuals may opt either for the law of the country of their nationality or last habitual residence to apply to any assets across Europe.

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Court of Protection – mental capacity

Individuals lacking mental capacity must be involved in legal proceedings concerning their liberty, the Court of Appeal has ruled, following the introduction of streamlined procedures to the Court of Protection (CoP). The ruling will have implications for those being cared for in hospitals, care and residential homes, or those cared for with Alzheimer’s, autism or learning disabilities, as such individuals cannot consent to restrictions on their liberty.

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IHT – deeds of variation

A post-death deed of variation that failed to include a claim for retrospective IHT treatment under s142(1) ITA 1984 was rectified on the basis that it did not reflect the parties’ intentions.

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Wills – ISA inheritance laws

Changes to the rules on ISAs means spouses or civil partners will now be able to inherit their partner’s ISA pot free of inheritance tax.

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LPAs – guidance for attorneys

Practitioners will welcome guidance leaflets from the Office of the Public Guardian, aimed at individuals considering acting for someone under a lasting power of attorney.

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Court of Protection – care plans; local authorities

The president of the Family Division has given useful guidance as to the Court of Protection’s powers to impose care plans on local authorities reluctant to agree a care plan. The CoP cannot compel a public authority to agree to a care plan which the authority is unwilling to implement.

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Procedure – LPA

The court has ruled when a lasting power of attorney can be revoked on the basis of an attorney’s behaviour. In this case, the local authority applied to have the LPA revoked and to have itself substituted as the attorney.

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Executors – privilege

An executor can unilaterally waive privilege (where there are more than one); and a party cannot obtain disclosure from trustees as a beneficiary if its status as beneficiary is one of the issues to be decided, the High Court has ruled. In addition, the confidentiality of disclosed and inspected documents can only be protected by injunctive relief. 

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Procedure – pensions benefits

The Taxation of Pensions Act 2014 has brought in important changes to the requirements on death, and to the taxation of death benefits from defined contribution (DC) pension savings. The changes apply to payments made on or after 6 April 2015, not in relation to deaths on or after 6 April. 

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Inheritance tax – pensions

HMRC has updated its Inheritance Tax Manual guidance on pensions. The update takes into account changes under the Taxation of Pensions Act 2014, which came into force on 6 April 2015 (see next entry). 

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Constructive trusts – property
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The author gives a helpful analysis of a ruling following a claim to establish a constructive trust or proprietary estoppel in respect of a domestic property. The deceased died intestate while living... Read more...
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The Professional Negligence Adjudication Scheme is run by the Professional Negligence Bar Association. It offers a voluntary ADR procedure, modelled on the adjudication system in construction... Read more...
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Ls should be aware of the environmental enforcement obligations that may be incurred as a result of T’s activities. Read more...
Part 36 – late acceptance
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
If a Part 36 offer is accepted out of time (ie outside the 21 day period) in a low value protocol case, then what are the costs consequences? In particular, does late acceptance mean a liability to... Read more...
HMOs – new rules
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The definition of house in multiple occupation (HMO) changes on 1 October 2018. The new definition covers properties occupied by five or more people, comprising two or more separate households. Read more...
Energy efficiency – reassessment by T?
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The Energy Efficiency (MEES) Regs mean it is no longer possible to grant new leases to properties with an EPC of F or G. Moreover, existing lettings of F and G properties will become unlawful from... Read more...
Knotweed – nuisance
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Last year, we had county court claims in Cardiff and Truro in which it was held that the encroachment of Japanese knotweed would be actionable as a ‘private nuisance’. The Cardiff cases have now... Read more...
Procedure – expert witnesses
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Expert witnesses must comply with court rules and related guidance appropriate to their area of expertise. New guidance for paediatric expert witnesses in family proceedings has now been issued. Read more...
Self-employed – or worker?
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The Pimlico Plumbers case was seen as a victory for workers in the gig economy, with the Supreme Court looking at the reality of the relationship (rather than the legal labels attached). So, what... Read more...
Offences – mens rea
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
This was a pre-trial appeal of a ruling at a preparatory hearing. The two appellants (A) faced charges under s17 Terrorism Act 2000 of sending money overseas, or arranging to do so, knowing or having... Read more...

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