Uno flatu: a double process in one breath

Uno flatu: a double process in one breath

Stephanie Kerr, Senior Associate of independent law firm Brabners LLP comments on the two recent occasions on which the High Court has considered the effect of the wording “I leave devise bequeath and appoint”.  In 2021, Deputy Master Dray considered the point in Equiom v Velarde [2021] EWHC 1528 (Ch) and the decision on appeal […]

Recovery of Success Fees in the context of claims for Financial Provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Acy 1975 (“IPFDA”)

John Lambe

Many people who bring a claim seeking an award of financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (IPFDA) live in necessitous circumstances and cannot afford to pay a lawyer to provide them with legal advice and assistance. Accordingly, they are often empowered to bring a claim by entering a Conditional […]

More estates now exempt from detailed IHT returns

The Inheritance Tax (Delivery of Accounts) (Excepted Estates) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 have been amended to implement previous suggestions made earlier in the year by HM Treasury’s Office for Tax Simplification to exempt more estates from the need to submit detailed estate returns as a condition of obtaining probate. HMRC says that the introduction of the […]

Landmark case sees Section 11 of Inheritance Act 1975 litigated

Thomas Sismey v Marissa Salandron This case is the first which sees section 11 of the Inheritance Act 1975 being litigated to trial, providing significant consequences for both estate, family and insolvency law. Imogen Halstead, barrister of No5 Chambers, acted on successfully defended the claim under section 11 in a ruling which involved new and […]

Court of Appeal denies IHT relief on political donation

Arron Banks, the millionaire UKIP supporter has lost an appeal case to exempt £1 million in political donations from inheritance tax (IHT). Mr Banks challenged HMRC’s assessment that he owed just over £160,000 on almost £1 million in donations to UKIP between October 2014 and March 2015, at tribunal hearings earlier in the year. While […]

Landmark ruling allow claimant to recover “Success Fee” from father’s estate

A Court of Appeal ruling passed down today has confirmed that the “success fee” element of conditional fee agreements (CFAs) can be recovered as part of an award under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act). The landmark ruling provides certainty to private client practitioners acting for claimants in difficult […]

Success Fee Recoverability in Inheritance Act Claims

The appeal in the case of Hirachand v Hirachand & Anor (“Re H”) has been eagerly awaited by those who work in the Contentious Probate field; a landmark decision in relation to the recoverability of success fees from opponents under a Conditional Fee Agreement (“CFA”).  Following a run of cases where the issue has been […]

Widow awarded £80,000 from brother-in-law’s inheritance

Beneficiary that inherited a one-half beneficial interest in a house by survivorship, is ordered to return £80,000 in equity to the estate of his dead brother. In the recent High Court case of Beg v Beg, 2021 EWHC 2598 Ch, the deceased Ehsan Beg left a will bequeathing his estate in full to his wife […]

Tolkien estate agrees to pay £7 million to HMRC after ten-year tax dispute

The Tolkien estate has agreed to pay £7 million to HM Revenue & Customs after a ten-year dispute over proceeds from Hollywood adaptations of Tolkien novels such as The Lord of The Rings and the Hobbit. An out of court settlement in 2008 is thought to have taken place between the company New Line Cinema […]

Defendants liable for Will challenge litigation costs, rules EWHC

The high court has clarified costs principles in cases where challenges to a will are abandoned mid-trial. In the recent case of Goodwin v Avison, the testator, Tom Goodwin, was a businessman and farmer who died in November 2018 with an estimated estate of £3-4 million. He made a will in 2017 with the help […]

Britney Spears’ father files to end conservatorship

Britney Spears’ father has filed a request to a Los Angeles court to end the conservatorship that has controlled her life and finances for 13 years. The news comes following an announcement last month that Jamie Spears would step down as his daughter’s conservator, allowing Britney to transition into a new legal arrangement. The documents […]

Firms that refuse to step down as executor could face high legal costs

A case that recently reached the High Court has highlighted risks and high costs that can be faced by firms refusing to step down as executor. In the case of WAG Davidson & Co, the deceased left an estate including a property to her grandson and an amount of £832,000 to her daughter. The firm […]

Retired solicitor imprisoned and struck-off for taking £275k from client’s estate

A retired solicitor has been sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment and been struck-off by the SRA for taking £275,000 from a deceased client’s estate and transferring it into his own bank account. The Lancashire-based former solicitor, Andrew Eastham was an executor on a will drawn almost 30 years ago. Following the death of his client […]

Dad who stole son’s inheritance avoids jail

A judge told a father that it was difficult to imagine a more despicable crime after the court heard that the man stole his son’s £38,000 inheritance. Daniel Caulfield, 38, from Milton in South Wales appeared at Swansea Crown Court charged with fraud, according to an article on WalesOnline. Caulfield’s mother had set up a […]

High Court sides with charities over nil-rate IHT will clause

A recent High Court decision in Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind v Beasant and Davies concerning will construction disputes and a group of charities, could influence the interpretation of nil-rate band clauses going forward. The case was brought by the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, which represented 20 other charities in a dispute […]

“Gangsta Granny” insurer appeal rejected

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in the case of Baines & Anor v Dixon Coles & Gill (A firm) & Ors [2021] EWCA Civ 1211. As Senior Partner at Dixon Coles & Gill, Linda Box used her position to steal £10m from deceased estates to fund a luxury lifestyle. She was jailed […]