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Issue 9 Winter 2016/2017 @PrivateClientWB

In Trustrust Welcome from the editor

I am delighted to present this issue of In Trust. As we approach the end of 2016 we reflect on a year of change. Brexit headlines continue to dominate as does news of the US presidential election and the implications for the UK. We remain committed to working with you to secure your future in both your personal and business spheres. One issue which the Brexit debate has highlighted is the

free movement of people and included is an article on this topic by Julia Jackson, our new partner. Julia specialises in corporate and business related immigration law and has extensive experience advising clients on immigration matters. We are excited to have Julia join us and her appointment is another positive move in bolstering the service we offer. As we turn our minds to Christmas and the new year, we examine

how to make the future of your family more secure by taking steps to protect your personal and business assets and ensure a smooth succession to your children and future generations. This includes topics such as how to protect against possible Will disputes, mitigate inheritance tax on your business and any heritage assets, and ensure your Will adequately deals with any foreign

By Eleanor Metcalf

assets you own, with a special focus on those whose estates may be subject to Sharia law. We also include a Q&A with Clive Weber, Partner in our Pensions & Employee Benefits team, on securing the succession of your pension funds in light of the new flexi-access regime – a form of estate planning as important as making a Will. We continue to work closely with our colleagues in the Pensions team so that we can assist with all your personal wealth planning. 2016 has been an exciting year for Wedlake Bell, as we

have relocated to Queen Victoria Street next door to St Paul’s, in the City of London, a location that reflects both our long history and our modern outlook. We remain committed to providing the highest quality, commercially driven private client advice with a friendly personal touch and look forward to advising you in the coming year. Please do not hesitate to get in touch and may I take this opportunity to wish you Season’s Greetings and all the best for the New Year.

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Sharia Law and UK probate

Many people, who are domiciled in countries where Sharia law applies, own property or assets in the UK. How does this impact on the administration of their UK estates and are UK Wills important? Wedlake Bell do not advise on

By Alexandra Pike

Sharia law but understand that, when someone dies domiciled in a Sharia jurisdiction, their estate may be subject to forced

heirship rules. Sharia law automatically applies to the distribution of the deceased’s assets and is based on a pre-determined calculation system so that relatives receive fixed shares. It is unusual for there to be a Will. Where UK assets form part of an estate, it will be necessary to apply

for probate at a UK Probate Registry before any of the UK assets can be dealt with. This process becomes more complicated where someone dies without a Will. Where no Will has been left, moveable assets (such as UK shares and investments) will generally pass

according to Sharia law but their UK real estate will pass according to UK intestacy law. This can lead to undesirable results. For example, assets in the UK

will ordinarily be subject to inheritance tax (“IHT”) if they do not pass to a spouse or charity. Therefore, distributions of assets to other beneficiaries under prescriptive Sharia laws, or indeed UK intestacy rules, can produce an IHT charge. In certain circumstances, we have been able to vary shares of an estate under Sharia law where the heirs agree. This allows the estate to be re-directed to an IHT-exempt beneficiary, such as a spouse, in order to take full advantage of the potential IHT savings. However, to avoid uncertainty, delay and costs, it is far preferable

toensurethatthereisaUKWillforUKassets,appointingUKexecutors and prescribing who should benefit in an IHT-efficient manner. It is also possible for a UK Will to be drafted in a manner compliant with Sharia law.

Whether Sharia Law will apply can, but not always, depend on a person’s religion and different jurisdictions subject to Sharia Law can also have varying succession rules. Dovetailing UK legal advice with advice in the specific Sharia jurisdiction is critical.


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