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Tax advice relating to poorly drafted will saves client £63,544

We were approached to advise on a will that had been poorly drafted years before by another firm. The will provided for a legacy of a double nil rate band to be left to a discretionary trust on the death of the first spouse, as well as other legacies that would attract inheritance tax. As the total value of chargeable legacies exceeded the nil rate band, £63,544 would be paid in inheritance tax on the first death, quite unnecessarily. We therefore advised the trustees to consider advancing the surplus over the nil rate band out of the discretionary trust more than 3 months but less than 2 years after the death, in favour of exempt beneficiaries such as the surviving spouse or charities, both of which were potential beneficiaries under the terms of the discretionary trust. This was put in hand, so that the spouse received £148,860 and charities received £10,000. In this way, the tax liability of £63,544 on the first death was eradicated.  The surviving spouse, who received the surplus from the trust, now has the opportunity to tax plan, should she wish, by making gifts and considering tax efficient investments.

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