Changes ahead for Wills, Care Fees, and Stamp Duty

There are an unusual number of under-currents currently affecting the typically calm world of Private Client work. On the run-up to the election the different parties’ manifestos provided us with rather more food for thought than we originally anticipated. In addition to this, the existing complications of our planned withdrawal from the EU and the impact of that is weighing heavily on many people’s minds.

Some of the issues we see causing concern are as follows:

  • Expected UK withdrawal from the EU – potential non-mutual recognition of UK and EU court proceedings.
  • Mooted changes to the Care Act and the funding of care fees both in the home and in a care home setting (dubbed the ‘dementia tax’) – impact of this on sensible Will planning and how assets are held by couples.
  • Oddly drafted rules relating to the new family home Inheritance Tax allowance (Residence Nil Rate Band) and whether it applies to your existing Wills – in particular where property is left to grandchildren at a certain age.
  • The broadening of HMRC’s view as to when the higher rates of SDLT apply – having an equitable interest, being responsible for a mortgage, or owning a property abroad can be enough to trigger the higher rates.
  • Extraordinary increases in Probate Court fees abandoned at present (but for how long is uncertain) in the legislative wash-up prior to the election.

One or more of the above matters is likely to affect you and your family. If this is causing you to worry about your affairs, just sitting tight is probably the best course of action at the moment.

Until the political storm that we currently find ourselves in has blown over, it is impossible to pre-empt what may or may not happen over the coming months and years. If nothing else, developments over the last few years have shown us that the logical or sensible is not always the legislative path.

We intend covering these issues again as the rules become clearer on each point, but if you are concerned about your current circumstance and would like to talk to us about them now then please get in touch.