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Wills, probate and administration

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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Probate – dependency claims

A summary judgment application has been deferred in a case raising issues relating to the IPFDA 1975. 

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Procedure – Court of Protection

Practitioners are advised to prepare for the implementation of The Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2015 which amend the Court of Protection Rules 2007, introducing important changes. The majority of the Rules come into force on 1 July 2015. Changes include:

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Probate – proprietary estoppel

The High Court has given important guidance on the court’s approach to claims of proprietary estoppel where a claim was made against a deceased estate. For a successful claim of proprietary estoppel, the claimant must show these three facts:

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Court of Protection – breach of declaration

The breach of a declaration of the Court of Protection cannot hold the same weight as the breach of a court order. The CoP considered a breach of a ‘best interests’ decision made under the MCA 2005 was sufficient to create a legal power from which to commence contempt proceedings.

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Trustee in bankruptcy – pensions

The High Court has disagreed with its earlier ruling in a similar case and rejected an application from a trustee in bankruptcy for access to the pensions of a bankrupt – which were not yet in payment.

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