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Musings from Manchester: An unanswered call

Geoffrey Shindler appeals to HMRC to look to itself before criticising its customers To be insulted by HMRC as well as suffer its delays, incompetence and errors is going too far. It would be very nice, would it not, for the early part of 2022 to be full of goodness and joy to all mankind? …
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Contentious probate: Conflicts between trustees and beneficiaries

Property trusts without liquid assets and no right to rent can cause difficulties for trustees facing proceedings. Nicola Phillipson analyses a case that considers these issues and more The distinction between situations where trustees have put themselves in a position of conflict and where they have been put there by the terms of the trust …
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Trusts: Shedding light on remuneration trusts

Mary Ashley reports on a rare taxpayer win Cases like Marlborough are helpful to reveal how HMRC will form its arguments when it wants a tribunal to look at the overall effect of an arrangement rather than the detail. Marlborough DP Ltd v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs [2021] is a First-tier …
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Trustees: The court’s power to bless decisions

Melody Munro reviews a case that exposes the delicate balance trustees have to maintain between beneficiaries’ wishes and what is best for the trust It is, quite rightly, not for the court to impose its own view of the merits of a decision but rather to consider whether the trustee’s decision is one which a …
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Costs: Action not to be taken lightly

Laura Abbott sets out the key principles concerning costs and contentious probate proceedings Any claim should be approached on the basis that costs follow the event. Parties must therefore be willing, and able, to pay their own costs and those of their opponent if they are unsuccessful. Goodwin v Avison [2021] is a useful précis …
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The 1975 Act: Applying the principles

Amy Berry provides practical points on seeking to extend time under s4 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 It is of fundamental import to remember that the divorce fiction, to which the pre-acquired/non-matrimonial asset issue relates, is only one aspect of the s3 criteria that the court must weigh when considering …
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Will construction: Context is key

Interpreting wills is not a question of dictionary definitions. Elis Gomer examines a case that underscores this principle It is unhelpful to stick too dogmatically to the ‘dictionary’ meaning of a word or term when there is a likelihood that it is being used – for whatever reason – in an unconventional way. The recent …
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Musings from Manchester: That was the year that was

Geoffrey Shindler gives his verdict on 2021 Someone has to take a stand as to what is and is not acceptable in a modern-day western, civilised society. To misquote George Orwell, and to be guilty of very bad grammar, ‘All years are unique, but some years are more unique than others’. What are we to …
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The 1975 Act: Contracts to leave property by will

Sismey v Salandron illuminates the risks to a party attempting to hold an estate to a lifetime contract that property would be left to them, or to anyone seeking to unbind the estate from the ties of such a contract. Imogen Halstead discusses While the court has previously discussed the possibility of collusive divorce settlements …
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Probate: Pride and prejudice

Paul Willan outlines a case which shows the importance of executors understanding to whom they owe their obligations The problem was that the executors were confusing their obligations to the estate with their obligations to the discretionary beneficiaries. Practitioners will be aware that family arguments are often the most difficult of cases, whether the context …
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