June 2012 Archive

The difficulty with alleging undue influence in probate matters

The recent cases of Hubbard, Cowderoy and Wharton have all highlighted the difficulty in challenging a will based upon the allegation of undue influence. From an analysis of these cases it is clear that suspicious circumstances alone are not enough and a claim of undue influence will require strong evidence that actual coercion took place. Examples of where a claim for undue influence in probate actions have been successful are few and far between.

TOGC relief on investment purchases

Transfers of businesses as going concerns (TOGCs) qualify for TOGC relief if certain conditions are met. If a transaction qualifies for TOGC relief, it is taken outside the scope of VAT so that no VAT is payable. A sale of an investment property is prima facie a TOGC because HMRC sees the act of letting the property and generating income from the rents on the property as being a business carried on from the property.

Protect against title defects using legal indemnity insurance

Title defects are not unusual and legal indemnity insurance (if available) can be a quick way of dealing with them. Increasingly, legal indemnity insurance is being offered by sellers and demanded by buyers in order to protect them from actual or perceived title defects. Legal indemnity insurance which was once generally used only as a last resort, is now increasingly viewed as a quick and low-cost way of dealing with a title defect so that the defect does not prejudice or delay a sale.

Stamp duty land tax post 2012 budget

A snapshot of the post 2012 budget position on stamp duty land tax (SDLT) affecting residential properties, plus a reminder of the rates for non-residential or mixed use properties. The Chancellor announced a new 7 per cent rate of SDLT for residential property transactions where the chargeable consideration exceeds £2 million. The new rate applies to transactions where the effective date is on or after 22 March 2012, subject to transitional provisions for pre-existing contracts.

Changes to charitable giving

The proposed cap on tax relief for large charitable donations, announced in the Budget, dominated the headlines but there have been other equally important changes to tax reliefs, particularly for smaller charities. The wording of the Gift Aid forms has been changed to ensure that donors understand that they need to pay income or capital gains tax (and not other taxes such as Council Tax or VAT) so that their donation qualifies for tax relief.
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