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Issue 7 Winter 2015/2016 @PrivateClientWB

In Trust News and views fromWedlake Bell’s Private Client team Welcome from the editor

As Head of the Private Client Group, I am delighted to present the Winter issue of In Trust. Over the next few pages we will share some of our in-depth knowledge and showcase key issues that will help you plan effectively for any challenges that may lie ahead. We are pleased to welcome Andrew

O’Keeffe to the team. Andrew specialises in contentious trust and probate matters, with extensive experience in disputes concerning breach of trust and the administration of estates. In August 2015 the ground-breaking

European Succession Regulation, Brussels IV, was passed which aims to simplify cross-border EU Succession. It provides a positive opportunity for anyone with assets in EU member states to take control of the succession of their EU assets and their heirs’ financial future.

Although the UK did not opt into the new legislation, any British citizens who have assets in the EU (excluding Denmark and Ireland) can benefit from the new EU inheritance legislation. Kate Johnson explains how Brussels IV could affect you. The Summer also saw a number of

high profile contentious probate cases highlighting the need to safeguard your Will against challenge. Caroline Cook explains the steps to help protect your Will from being contested. If you are appointed as an attorney

under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to deal with an individual’s financial affairs in the event of them losing mental capacity to deal with them personally, you may wish to consider making gifts of their assets on their behalf to members of their family, friends or charity. However, it’s important to remember that this is subject

By Eleanor Metcalf

to restrictions and you must ensure that you have the power to do so. Victoria Mahon de Palacios reminds us of issues to consider when making gifts under a Power of Attorney. Physical digital assets such as

computers, USB sticks and mobile phones are classed as ‘personal possessions’ and can pass under your Will. Intangible physical digital assets, like email and social media accounts, are more complicated to pass on. Oliver Embley discusses how Wills need to keep pace with technology and include gifts of digital assets to loved ones. As always, if you would like to discuss

any of the topics covered in more detail, we would be delighted to hear from you. Head of Private Client Team Email:

New inheritance law for EU holiday homes

If you own a holiday home or other assets in the EU, you will be affected by new EU inheritance legislation introduced this Summer. By Kate Johnson

In England and Wales, individuals are free to leave their assets to whomever they wish as long as this is clearly stated in a valid Will. But most EU member states have some form of “forced heirship” where at least a share of assets must be left to certain members of the immediate family. The ground-breaking European Succession Regulation, known as Brussels IV, introduced in August 2015, aims to simplify cross-border EU succession. It allows individuals to choose the law of their nationality to govern succession to their EU assets on death. It does not affect the inheritance

tax payable which is usually determined by where you are resident, where you are domiciled and the location of the assets. Although the UK did not opt into

Brussels IV, any Brits with assets in EU countries outside of the UK (other than Denmark and Ireland) can benefit from Brussels IV by making an election in their Will.

For example, if you are a UK citizen

with a holiday home in France you can update your UK Will to cover the French property with an election for English law to apply, rather than having a separate French Will for the property. This means you will be able to leave the French

property to whomever you wish, rather than to those who must inherit it under French forced heirship rules. Or, if you live in Spain, the default position will now be that Spanish law will apply to your EU assets, but if you are a UK citizen, this can be overridden by making an express election in your Will for English law to apply. We recommend that all clients with EU

assets or connections review their Wills, check whether any prior elections have been made, and consider making an election for English law to apply to their EU assets.


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