Take Care When Apponting a Non-Lawyer as Your Executor

When you appoint a solicitor to be theexecutor of your will, you can be assured that they will understand their duties and can be relied upon to comply with them. However, as a High Court case showed, the same sadly cannot always be said of friends or family members who are chosen to perform the role.

The case concerned a woman who died in her 70s, leaving an estate valued at more than…

Planning to Participate in a Tax Avoidance Scheme? Read This First!

Anyone tempted to participate in a tax avoidance scheme would be wise to take note of one case in which a businessman complained in vain that he had been subject to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) inquiries for almost seven years, with no end in sight.

The inquiries concerned two tax returns that the man had filed in 2010. He had disclosed at the outset his involvement in a tax avoidance…

Minor Drafting Error Corrected - £1 Million Saved

Under Inheritance Tax (IHT) law, certain types of trust have a ten-yearly charge to IHT on the value of the trust assets. The legislation, which imposes IHT of 6 per cent on the 'relevant property' in the trust settlement, was introduced in 2006 and applied from 2008, so the first periodic charges are now in point.

When a wealthy family created two trusts in 2000 and 2004 and settled more…

Lack of Will Clarity Requires Court to Intervene

The need for a will to be clear is paramount, there being no chance to go back to ask what the real intentions of the person making it were, and when a will made a gift to charity that was insufficiently easy to identify, the spectre of an Inheritance Tax (IHT) charge arose until the High Court intervened.

The will concerned was handwritten by a Serbian whose estate included three houses. It stated…

Business Tycoon's Wife Well Served by Lawyers Who Drafted Her Will

A solicitor's primary duty when drafting a will is to follow faithfully their client's instructions after giving accurate and level-headed advice. In a professional negligence case triggered by the early death of a business tycoon's wife, the High Court ruled that that is exactly what a law firm did. The case does, however, make the point strongly that wills should always be kept under review to…

Libel by Internal Email Proves Expensive

Many people think that for a libel to occur, the statement made has to be both false and made in public, but in fact that is not so, as a recent libel case confirms.

The libellous comments were made by a care worker at a hospital about a colleague in an internal email sent to the HR manager and another senior manager. The High Court agreed that the accusations were false and had caused serious…

Judge Sees Through Attempt to Hide Assets

When a couple divorced in 2014, the ex-husband was ordered to pay his ex-wife periodical payments of £120,000 per year after he was found to have used a variety of stratagems to make himself appear worse off than he really was.

A mere three months later, he began legal proceedings for an order to reduce the amount of the payments. The dispute wound on and on and by the time it reached court in…

Is a Surburban Garden "Part of a Dwelling"? High Court Says "No"

Few words can have been the subject of more judicial analysis over the years than 'dwelling'. In the latest example, the High Court has ruled that a suburban garden does not form part of a dwelling for the purposes of the Public Order Act 1986.

The case concerned a woman who was accused of racially abusing a man over the fence of her mother's garden. Section 5(2) of the Act provides that…

Family Court Has High Court Powers

When a couple divorced, their financial settlement was complicated by the fact that both of the properties they owned jointly were mortgaged. The Family Court ordered that they should each have one of the properties and use their best endeavours to release the other from their obligations under the mortgage. If that proved to be impossible, each should indemnify the other against any liability…

Workplace Mobility Clauses - Employment Appeal Tribunal Guidance

Mobility of labour is vital to any modern economy and many employment contracts require staff to relocate from one workplace to another if their employer's business demands it. One such clause came under consideration in a case in which a charity worker who refused to move was dismissed for gross misconduct (Aziz v The Fremantle Trust).

The care worker had experienced a difficult relationship…