e-WILLS ON THE WAY?
A public consultation by the Law Commission, launched on 13th July, is “a welcome step towards updating our will-making laws to keep them fit for purpose in the 21st century”, the Law Society has said.
Under laws which date back to 1837, a Will needs to be made in writing and signed by the Testator and two witnesses in order to be valid. The Law Commission believes that the current rules are unclear and that the current system is outdated and needs to keep up with the digital age.
In the consultation paper, the Law Commission proposes:
Giving the Courts power to recognise a Will in cases where the formality rules have not been followed, but the Testator has made clear their intentions;
An overhaul of the rules protecting those making a Will from being unduly influenced by another person;
THE NEW IHT RESIDENCE NIL RATE BAND
Ever since 6th April a new Inheritance Tax (IHT) allowance has been available, the effect of which will be to reduce the amount of IHT payable in respect of certain estates.
The new allowance, known as the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB), applies when residential property is left to direct descendants. It will result in an additional £100,000 of IHT Nil Rate Band (the term for the IHT free allowance) in 2017-18, rising to an additional £175,000 in 2020-21.
It is envisaged that a married couple who leave all of their estates to each other in the first instance will have two residential property allowances to add to their existing IHT Nil Rate Band of £325,000 each and will therefore eventually have a combined IHT Nil Rate Band of £1 million.
There are restrictions on who can benefit from...