Alex ElphinstonSenior Associate
35 years' experience helping individuals and families plan for the future.
I’m a senior associate in the private legal services team, advising clients on wills, trusts, gifts and estate administration as well as Court of Protection. I work closely with colleagues in the family and clinical negligence teams, where appropriate.
After qualifying as a solicitor in 1980, I’ve always advised on wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection matters. I speak regularly on these matters to other professionals and support groups for individuals. I also hold various committee roles with related professional bodies, including STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly.
You would hope that anyone looking after the financial affairs of a friend or relative, or indeed, making any decision on behalf of another, would be motivated to make a decision that was in the individual's "best interests".
When a person dies, the Government not only levies inheritance tax based on the value of the deceased’s assets, but also a separate fee which is known as a “probate court fee”.
All individuals are presumed to have the mental capacity to make their own decisions unless proved otherwise. An assessment of capacity is matter specific, with reference to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
The testatrix, Mrs. Coulter, was domiciled in Jersey and died there. Her estate, at the date of her death, included assets in the United Kingdom with a probate value of £1,818,000.
This means that, in certain circumstances, beneficiaries who have not received what the deceased intended may well have a legal claim against the adviser who prepared the Will.
Inheritance Tax is primarily payable on death on the value of your assets at that time. You can reduce the liability by making lifetime gifts and then surviving seven years.
In recent years the Probate Court Fee has been a flat fee of £155 if a solicitor submits the papers for every estate worth over £5,000 with 50p payable for every extra sealed copy of the court document the Executors need.
On 8th July HMRC issued a statement setting out some of the detail about this proposal. The Devil is certainly in the detail! Even now we will have to await the legislation before some details become completely clear.
This is the first of our two part segment, where we’re taking the opportunity to outline some of the benefits and to dispel some of the myths.
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