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Witnessing a Will

By | Wills | No Comments

Arguably the most essential step when making a Will is the attestation of the Will itself, as all Wills must be signed and witnessed for them to be valid. Along with the testator signing the Will, their signature must be witnessed by two independent people. This means that the witnesses must not be a beneficiary, or the spouse/civil partner a beneficiary of the Will. If a beneficiary, or their spouse/civil partner witnesses the Will and the testator subsequently passes away before the error is rectified, the legacy made to that beneficiary will be declared void, rather than invalidating the Will entirely. If, however only one person has acted as a witness to the Will, then the Will would be invalid as section 9 of the Wills Act 1837, states that two or more witnesses must be used. It is not a legal requirement that a Will should be dated for…

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Attorneys making gifts under an LPA

By | LPA | No Comments

Subject to instructions saying otherwise, attorneys of a Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney have a power to make: Gifts to charities that the donor may have given to; and Gifts to family members, friends or acquaintances of the donor on ‘customary occasions’ A customary occasion for this purpose means occasions where is it usual for gifts to be given, for example a birth, a birthday, a wedding/civil partnership, an anniversary or religious holidays. Any gifts made by attorneys must be reasonable in regards to the size of the donor’s estate and their expected current and future needs. The type of gifts the donor used to make when they had capacity should also be considered although just because a donor used to make generous gifts, it does not mean that it would be reasonable for the attorneys to make similar sized gifts, for example if care home fees have…

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Why use a Business Property Relief Discretionary Trust?

By | Business Property Relief | No Comments

It is fairly common for spouses, where at least one of them owns a business and they wish to leave this to their spouse upon their death. On first death, this would be free of inheritance tax due to the spousal exemption. Second death should also be considered. If a business qualifies for business property relief, it may also pass IHT free on second death (should it qualify for the full 100% relief). What if the surviving spouse does not want to run their late spouse’s business, or if a business partner wants to buy the deceased’s shares off the spouse? They may decide to run the business for a while but eventually sell it on in their old age to retire. This would lead to an increased Inheritance Tax liability, as an asset which is Inheritance Tax exempt (the business) is replaced by one subject to Inheritance Tax (cash)…

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