Call us today on 0161 969 3131

How to reduce inheritance tax obligations

How to reduce inheritance tax obligations

What is inheritance tax?

Inheritance tax is a tax paid on the property, money, and possessions of someone who has died. The tax is charged on your estate at 40% and the executor of your will is responsible for arranging payment.

When do you have to pay inheritance tax?

The beneficiaries of your will will be liable to pay inheritance tax in the following circumstances:

  1. The value of your estate is above £325,000. This includes property, money and possessions, with the tax being charged on any amount over the threshold. For example, if you left an estate worth £330,000 the inheritance tax would be 40% of the £5,000 you are over the threshold, or £2,000.
  2. Large gifts such as property or large sums of money will be included when valuing your estate for inheritance tax purposes if you die within seven years of the gift being given. This tax is on a sliding scale, however, so will decrease in stages after three years.
  3. If you live abroad but have assets in the UK, those assets will be subject to UK inheritance tax laws upon your death.

How to reduce inheritance tax obligations

There are a wide range of strategies you can employ to ensure you don’t pay more inheritance tax than you need to, some of which we’ve listed below.

Summary: Here’s how to reduce inheritance tax

  1. Regularly review your plans
  2. Donate to charity
  3. Give regularly
  4. Seek professional advice

And in a bit more detail:

Regularly review your plans

Your circumstances and the laws around inheritance can change dramatically in a short space of time, regularly reviewing your estate plans will ensure they are always up-to-date and take any changes into consideration.

Donate to charity

If you donate 10% of your estate to charity upon your death, inheritance tax will be reduced to 32% – saving your beneficiaries money and helping a good cause of your choice.

Give regularly

You can give away up to £3,000 worth of gifts each tax year without them being added to the value of your estate. Alongside this, wedding, birthday and Christmas gifts do not count towards your estate as long as you are able to maintain your standard of living after the gift.

Seek professional advice

Our most important advice to help you minimise your inheritance tax obligations would be to speak to a professional. Their job is to ensure your estate planning is both fair and tax efficient, leaving you to focus on enjoying your life.

The benefits of proper estate planning

Proper estate planning can benefit your family in numerous ways, including:

  1. You can ensure your children, grandchildren and other loved ones sees the maximum benefit from your hard work after your death.
  2. Avoiding any disputes which may arise around people’s share of your estate in a time when emotions are running high.
  3. Ensuring the beneficiaries of your will won’t have to worry about expensive tax bills during the grieving process.
  4. Protecting you and your beneficiaries from changes in the law regarding inheritance.

To speak to one of our expert Estate Planning team members you can call us on: 0161 969 3131 or fill in our online contact form.

What is probate and when you do need a probate specialist?

What is probate and when you do need a probate specialist?

What is probate?

Probate is the legal and financial process involved in dealing with the assets of someone who has died. This formal grant of representation is required when someone dies who has significant assets which need to be realised, with the executor of the will being required to apply for Probate before they can deal with the gathering in and distribution of any of the deceased’s assets.

When do you need to apply for probate?

You will need to apply for a Grant of Probate if the deceased leaves at least one of the following:

  1. Stocks or shares
  2. Property or land in their name

If the assets in the estate are comprised of cash only, the bank or building society will advise as to whether they require sight of a Grant of Probate before closing the accounts.

If this property was held in joint names with a spouse or civil partner the executor will not need to apply for probate, but in all other situations the grant of probate will be required before distribution of the assets.

The probate process

The probate process can be broken down into five different phases, these are:

  1. Determining the value of the deceased’s estate.
  2. Paying any inheritance tax due on the estate.
  3. Applying to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Representation.
  4. Collecting the assets of the estate and paying any unpaid bills.
  5. Distributing the estate.

Although the process seems quite simple when broken down, each part of the process is fraught with complex laws and tax obligations which, if not followed correctly, will lead to the distribution process being incredibly stressful and potentially costly.

How can a probate specialist help you?

Probate specialists are able to advise you regarding the laws surrounding probate, estate administration and the actions required throughout the process. Their expertise allows them to deal with the matter as quickly as possible and leave you free from the worry of unexpected bills or nasty surprises as a result of not following the legal aspects correctly.

Barclays Plc and former executives charged with conspiracy to commit fraud

Barclays Plc and former executives charged with conspiracy to commit fraud

It has been reported that Barclays Plc and four former executives have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and the provision of unlawful financial assistance. The charges, brought by the Serious Fraud Office, follow a lengthy investigation into Barclays’ fundraising during the 2008 financial crisis. Those employees charged with conspiracy to commit fraud include Barclays’ former chief executive, former senior investment banker, former chief executive of Barclays’ wealth division and the ex-European head of financial institutions.

 

Carry over of holiday pay

Carry over of holiday pay

In the recent case of King v The Sash Window Workshop, the advocate general considered whether a worker’s paid holiday entitlement carried over to subsequent holiday years if an employee has not taken the holiday due to the fact that the employer refuses to pay them. In this case, the advocate general considered that where a worker has been prevented from exercising his right to paid holiday, the right carries over until the employee has had the opportunity to exercise it. This may be right up until the termination of employment. This means that in these circumstances, the legal obligation on employers to make a payment in lieu for untaken holiday entitlement on termination of employment should cover the full period of employment until termination of employment, including where holiday is carried over due to the fact that the employee has been precluded from taking the holiday. It is noteworthy that the advocate general’s opinion is non-binding but is very often followed as it is considered to be extremely persuasive by the European Courts.

A key summary of the General Data Protection Regulation

A key summary of the General Data Protection Regulation

For all businesses that hold personal data, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force from May 2018. In conjunction with our partners at Eurotek UK, we have produced a report to summarise the key points from this legislation, how it could affect your business, and what to do. A PDF version of this report, which is free for you to download and use, is available here. Alternatively, we have provided a transcript copy of the report below.


General Data Protection Regulation: A key summary and what should you be doing now

Introduction

The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) comes into force on 25 May 2018 and will replace the Data Protection Act 1998. Whilst this may seem a long way off, the GDPR makes significant changes to UK data protection law and this note sets out the key areas where it will affect businesses and what businesses can and should be doing now to prepare.

Information Commissioners Office (“ICO”) Guidance

As they have done under the current data protection regime, the ICO has published guidance on its website (http:/www.ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-GDPR) on preparing for the GDPR and set out what specific guidance they expect to be publishing in 2017 ahead of the coming into force of the GDPR – this note is subject to anything contained in such guidance.

Key Changes

Changes to consent as a legal basis for processing

Businesses in the UK have, so far, been able to rely on implied consent under the Data Protection Act but the GDPR requires a very high standard of consent, which must be given by a clear affirmative action establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the individual’s agreement to their personal data being processed, such as by a written statement.

A person is still required to give their explicit consent to process special categories of personal data (things like race, sexual orientation, health etc.).

What you should be doing now

Whilst the ICO has confirmed that it will be publishing further guidance on consent, at this stage it appears highly unlikely that businesses will be able to continue to rely on implied consent.

Businesses that rely on consent as a legal basis for processing personal data will need to review their procedures in detail to ensure that any consent they obtain indicates affirmative agreement from the data subject, rather than a failure to object (the example used in the GDPR is that ticking a blank box will suffice, but failing to un-tick a pre-ticked box will not constitute valid consent). For most businesses this will require a review of existing terms and conditions and privacy policies but it may also require the production of new internal policies setting out how the business intends to comply with this.

Withdrawing consent

Data subjects will have the right to withdraw their consent at any time.

What you should be doing now

It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it and again businesses should consider their processes for doing this and set them out clearly (in their terms and conditions and privacy policies for example). They should also ensure that they have technological processes and systems in place that would prevent further processing once consent is withdrawn.

The right to be forgotten

Individuals will have the right to request that businesses delete their personal data if, for example, the data is no longer necessary for the purpose for which they were collected or the data subject withdraws their consent.

What you should be doing now

Businesses will need to develop processes and mechanisms setting out how they will implement the right to be forgotten, which may not be straightforward.

Businesses should begin evaluating whether they have sufficient technological measures in place to comply with this and if not to look at putting them in place.

Data Protection Officer

Businesses will be required to appoint a data protection officer if their processing is a core activity of the business or done on a large scale.

What you should be doing now

Businesses will need to review and evaluate the level of data processing they undertake and consider appointing a data protection officer with expert knowledge of data protection. This can be an employee or an outside consultant.

Subject access requests

Businesses must reply within one month from the date of receipt of a subject access request (down from 40 days under the Data Protection Act) and provide more information than was required under the Data Protection Act.

They also will lose the right to charge a £10 administration fee which was often used as a way to delay the start of the period for reply.

What you should be doing now

Businesses should set out internal policies on how they will respond to subject access requests within the new time scale and how they will search for and provide the additional information required. Having the appropriate technological systems and software in place will help to cut down on the time it takes to comply with a request.

The reduction in the timescale and the removal of the fee makes it even more important that staff are able to identify a subject access request when received – it could be made to any member of staff and may not be described as a subject access request.

Data portability

Data subjects have the right to obtain a copy of their personal data from a business in a “commonly used” and “machine-readable” format and have the right to transmit that data to another business. They can request the information be transmitted directly from one business to another (where technically feasible).

What you should be doing now

Businesses that process large volumes of personal data should consider how they will give effect to this and ensure that they have or will have appropriate technological measures in place to do this including protecting the data while in transit using up-to-date encryption and device control software.

Risk-based approach to compliance

Under the GDPR, businesses bear responsibility for assessing the degree of risk that their processing poses to data subjects and this is reflected in a number of areas such as:

  • the new accountability principle and requirement for data controllers to maintain appropriate documentation;
  • privacy by design and default;
  • privacy impact assessments;
  • data security requirements and the appointment of a data protection officer in certain circumstances.

What you should be doing now

As this is a significant change that may require implementing new procedures by businesses, businesses should start preparing now. The ICO has published a 12-step guide (https:www.ico.gov.uk/media/1624219/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf) which recommends that businesses:

  • start to brief management on the GDPR and how it affects their business;
  • review and document the personal data they hold, recording in each case where it came from and with whom it is shared;
  • consider the legal basis relied upon for the various types of processing that they carry out and document this;
  • review privacy policies and start to make any changes to comply with the GDPR.

Ensuring that encryption methods, intrusion prevention and detection and device control measures are in place and up-to-date will help to show that a business has undertaken an appropriate risk analysis.

Notification

Businesses will be required to notify the ICO of all data breaches without undue delay (and where possible within 72 hours). If this is not possible, businesses will have to justify the delay to the ICO by way of a “reasoned justification”.

What you should be doing now

Businesses will need to develop (and follow) a data breach response plan and procedure enabling them to react quickly. Complying with the notification obligations are likely to entail an administrative burden so getting a good response plan together and introducing breach detection software will help streamline the process and minimise costs.

Increased fines

Currently, fines under the Data Protection Act are relatively low (the maximum fine is £500,000). The GDPR will significantly increase the maximum fines as follows:

  • up to 2% of annual worldwide turnover or 10 million euros (whichever is the greater) for breaches relating to internal record keeping, data processor contracts, data security and breach notification, data protection officers, and data protection by design and default.
  • up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover or 20 million euros (whichever is the greater) for breaches relating to breaches of the data protection principles, conditions for consent, data subjects rights and international data transfers.

What you should be doing now

Whereas businesses may have considered data protection issues to be relatively low risk and not placed compliance high on their list of priorities as a result, they will need to look at this again given the high level of fines that can be imposed under the GDPR.

Businesses should start engaging with the process of getting GDPR compliant by getting the right policies in place and updating their technological systems where necessary.

Privacy by design and default

Businesses will be required to implement data protection by design (i.e. when creating new products, services or carrying out any new data processing activities) and by default (i.e. to ensure that by default only personal data necessary for each specific purpose is used).

What you should be doing now

Businesses should look to implement technical and organisational measures to ensure that they take data protection requirements into account from the creation of any new technology, product or service and keep those measures up-to-date. Businesses should also start to plan this into future product cycles.

Privacy impact assessments

Businesses will be required to perform data protection impact assessments before carrying any processing that uses new technologies which is likely to result in a high risk to data subjects takes place.

What you should be doing now

Conduct data protection impact assessments where appropriate, in particular consider the ICO’s Privacy Impact Assessments Code.

Dealing with EU citizens

Non-EU businesses will be subject to the GDPR if they either:

  • offer goods or services to data subjects in the EU; or
  • monitor the behaviour of data subjects that takes place within the EU

The Government has indicated that they expect to keep the GDPR applicable in UK law post-Brexit. Even if this changes, you may still be required to complywith the GDPR if your business undertakes either of the above.

What you should be doing now

At this stage UK businesses do not have to do anything additional to what is set out in this note, though they should be aware of the territorial scope of the GDPR.

Conclusion

Compliance with the GDPR is likely to require organisation-wide changes for many businesses to ensure that personal data is processed in compliance with the GDPR’s requirements. Such changes may include redesigning systems that process personal data, purchasing new systems, and/or renegotiating contracts with third party data processors.

Businesses should therefore understand that these changes may require a significant amount of time to implement and plan ahead. Failure to do so could mean that businesses are left with new requirements to implement, without sufficient time or resources to do so.

For advice on the legal issues in this note please contact Slater Heelis. For advice on the systems and technological aspects of this note please contact Eurotek UK.


If you wish to download this report as a PDF document, please click here.

Taxi firm Uber fires more than 20 people following harassment investigation

Taxi firm Uber fires more than 20 people following harassment investigation

It has recently been reported that Uber has dismissed more than 20 staff following a detailed harassment investigation. The company has reported that the dismissals relate to sexual harassment, bullying and issues concerning poor company culture.

It was recently reported that a former employee, a female member of staff, had written a damaging blog concerning her work experience at Uber. The blog led to investigations uncovering over 200 complaints about harassment and other allegations. The blog, written by ex-member of staff, Susan Fowler, criticised the company for ignoring her complaints of sexual harassment. The blog was widely shared and prompted Uber to launch internal investigations into the issues raised.

Of the 215 claims investigated, 54 related to discrimination, 47 to sexual harassment and 45 to unprofessional behaviour. It has been reported that actions taken by Uber following the investigation and legal review of the allegations included firing 20 staff, initiating training for 31 staff and issuing final warnings to 7 members of staff. 57 claims are still under review.

It has also been reported that Uber has appointed Eric Holder, to investigate the company’s broader corporate culture.

 

 

Companies to take on more older Employees

Companies to take on more older Employees

The Government’s business champion for older workers, Andy Briggs, previously called for firms to increase the number of older workers in the workplace by 12% by 2022. He commented that this would be vital in filling the country’s ‘colossal skills gap’.

Further to Mr Briggs’ comments, a number of firms, including Barclays and Aviva, have agreed to publish data about the age of their workforce and promote the employment of over 50s in the workplace. Mr Briggs now wants more companies to commit to employing older workers and to publish data about the age of their workforce to help ensure his target of 1 million more older workers by 2022 is achieved.

The eight companies that have currently signed up include Aviva, Atos, Barclays, The Co-operative Group, Home Instead Senior Care, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Mercer and Walgreens Boots Alliance. The call from Mr Briggs comes due to a warning that by 2022, the UK will have 14.5 million more jobs with only 7 million younger workers entering the workplace.

 

 

Manchester Law Firm’s Campaign to Support Dementia is a Knitting Success

Manchester Law Firm’s Campaign to Support Dementia is a Knitting Success

LEADING LAW FIRM, Slater Heelis LLP has provided local care home residents living with dementia therapeutic support as a result of its innovative Twiddlemuff campaign.

To support National Dementia Awareness Week, the legal practice reached out to local knitting enthusiasts and asked them to create a Twiddlemuff; a specially designed hand muff that provides stimulation activity for restless hands for patients suffering from dementia.

After a month of knitting, the firm was inundated with Twiddlemuffs hand-made by members of the local community.

Partners Chris Partington and Georgina Bradshaw donated the collection of Twiddlemuffs to several local care homes, including Faversham House in Urmston, Sunrise Senior Living in Hale Barns and Urmston Manor, and The Knoll Care Partnership.

Chris said:

“Our specialist team work closely with a number of local care homes to provide support on a range of issues, from wills and the probate process to Court of Protection hearings and Lasting Power of Attorney.

“The support for the campaign has been amazing. Twiddlemuffs take a lot of time and effort to create and we would like to thank all of those people who have got involved.

“We hope that the Twiddlemuffs we donated will go a long way to help people living with dementia.”

Twiddlemuffs are still welcome to support the cause and can be donated by dropping them off in reception at Slater Heelis’ Sale high street location on 16 School Road, Sale M33 7XP.

A free guide on how to knit a Twiddlemuff is available on our website – www.slaterheelis.co.uk/news/slater-heelis-launches-twiddlemuff-drive-dementia

3-month gap breaks series of deductions

3-month gap breaks series of deductions

In the case of Fulton v Bear Scotland Limited, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that a gap of more than 3 months between non-payments or under payments of wages breaks the “series” of deductions for the purpose of an unlawful deduction from wages claim. This EAT decision is the latest in the long-running saga concerning holiday pay. The EAT previously decided that non-guaranteed overtime must be taken into account when calculating holiday pay. The EAT also held that a gap of more than 3 months between two deductions breaks the “series” of deductions for the purposes of an unlawful deduction from wages claim. The case then returned to the Employment Tribunal and then to the EAT again in these current proceedings. The EAT decided that the previous ruling on the 3-month gap point was part of the EAT’s previous binding authority. The decision therefore stood and is therefore authority for the fact that a 3-month gap between non-payments or under payments of wages breaks the “series” of deductions for the purposes of an unlawful deduction from wages claim.

Multiple-Choice Test Constituted Indirect Disability Discrimination

Multiple-Choice Test Constituted Indirect Disability Discrimination

The case of Government Legal Service (GLS) v Brooks considered whether it constituted indirect disability discrimination to require job applicants to sit a multiple-choice test at the first stage of a recruitment process. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), agreeing with the Tribunal, decided that this did constitute indirect disability discrimination. Furthermore, GLS’s refusal to allow answers in a narrative form rather than choosing from multiple choice options was a failure in its duty to make reasonable adjustments.

The Claimant, Ms Brooks, suffered from Asperger’s syndrome. She applied for a job as a trainee solicitor with GLS. At the first stage in the recruitment process, applicants are required to sit a multiple choice test. The Claimant contacted GLS in advance of sitting the test and asked for her to be allowed to submit her answers to the questions in a short narrative form. GLS refused. Ms Brooks sat the test and received a score of 12/22, the pass mark being 14. She brought a claim in the employment tribunal, claiming indirect disability discrimination and a failure to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

The Tribunal concluded that GLS had in fact applied a provision, criterion or practice of requiring its applicants to pass an online multiple-choice test. Furthermore, the PCP placed people with Asperger’s syndrome at a particular disadvantage. Ms Brooks had been put at a disadvantage. GLS’s argument regarding justification failed. Furthermore, the Tribunal considered that the adjustments requested by Ms Brooks were reasonable and that GLS had failed in its duty towards her in this regard. The EAT upheld the Tribunal’s finding.

This case highlights the importance of considering appropriate selection methods at interview stage and dealing with any concerns raised by potential applicants in this regard.