Thursday, March 21, 2019

A new residential nil rate band (RNRB) was introduced on April 6 2017 enabling you to pass, on your death, an additional allowance to be used against the value of property passing to direct dependents on top of the individual inheritance tax allowance of £325,000.

The starting allowance was £100,000 and this increases incrementally by £25,000 each year in April up to £175,000 in 2020 and thereafter in line with the Consumer Prices Index.

Currently, anything under £325,000 is exempt from inheritance tax. Anything above this figure is subject to a 40 per cent tax bill. This will depend however, on any lifetime gifting and planning you may have in place.

This figure can effectively be doubled for couples, as two people’s allowances are available. This means they can currently pass on death, property & assets to the value of £900,000 without incurring inheritance tax. The sum will rise incrementally to £1m by 2020/21.

To qualify for the new residential nil rate band, individuals will need to ensure their residence goes to direct descendants – children, step-children, adopted children, grandchildren or foster children.

It is important for anyone affected by these new provisions to review their wills, particularly if their current ones include discretionary trusts, as a significant number of wealthier families will lose out on the benefit.

At present, it is possible to effect a Deed of Variation, which must be done within two years of the date of death, although this can only be used if none of the beneficiaries are minors.

It may all sound complicated, but a specialist trusts & estates solicitor will be able to work out exactly how much of a person’s estate is exempt from inheritance tax.

If you need any advice in relation to the above, or any other family matters, please contact us on: 0161 330 6821

NB.The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Davis Blank Furniss – the Glossop based law firm – will be holding its annual Lasting Powers of Attorney Week from Monday 5th to Friday 9th November at its Ellison Street office.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to appoint a trusted friend, relative or professional to make decisions about your finances, property and personal welfare in the event that you are in an accident or you develop an illness that leaves you unable to make such decisions for yourself.

The week long promotion includes both types of LPA: the first covers your property and financial affairs; and the second your personal welfare and health. Special fixed prices for the week start at £150 plus VAT.

Lewis Thompson – solicitor in the Private Client team at Davis Blank Furniss – said: “LPAs are incredibly important. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025. That is a scary yet very real statistic which is why we must all plan ahead to ease the potential burden on our loved ones. However, what people often overlook is that they are not just useful for the elderly but also for younger people who may unexpectedly and suddenly become incapacitated through accident or illness.

Lewis added: “Losing your mental capacity is not a nice thing to think about but we want our LPA Week to make people stop and really consider that by arranging an LPA now, you protect yourself and those you care about and avoid costly legal proceedings down the line.”

 For more information – or to make an appointment during the Davis Blank Furniss LPA Week 2018 – please email:





By ‘Frank Massey & Son Ltd, Hyde’s oldest established Family Undertakers

It is something that we have been becoming increasingly aware of for many years, but recently a report in The Guardian suggested that there is a growing ‘national scandal’ involving pre-paid funeral plans. Most customers, the report stated, are completely unaware of hidden fees and commissions charged by middlemen that mean when the time comes to use the plan, they could be faced with an unexpected shortfall running into hundreds of pounds!

One consumer body that has investigated the pre-paid funeral sector believes some disreputable companies offering these plans are operating a ‘quasi Ponzi scheme’ where they allegedly use money from new customers to pay current claimants.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme, that is the official safety net for customers of financial firms that go bust, also issued a warning that individuals could lose out if their provider fails.

In far too many cases grieving families discover that they are being hit with unexpected bills at what is a very difficult time, simply because money has been ‘skimmed off’ the original pre-paid figure.

One funeral director quoted in the article was astounded when a customer showed them a £3,420 plan, but on receiving payment from the plan organiser – only £2,535 was provided for the funeral. There was an admin cost of almost £1000!

Apart from the rip-off fees and commissions charged by unscrupulous firms, we are also very concerned by the way that many of these plans are sold. Tactics include cold calling, along with telephone and in-house sales agents who, it appears, can be very forceful and aggressive in their approach. We have even been told of seemingly respectable age related organisations who are now adopting cold calling techniques to sell their funeral plans.

So what can you do?

The first thing to make clear is that not all pre-paid funeral plans fall into this rip-off category. There are many, such as the ‘Golden Charter’ plans that we provide at Frank Massey & Son Ltd, that have been delivering a totally transparent, secure, flexible and fully assured service for many, many years and which are guaranteed to cover the funeral director’s services you agreed on once your plan is paid for. Golden Charter is owned entirely by over 750 independent funeral businesses throughout the UK and surplus funds are used to increase funds available to the funeral director to cover any additional costs.

If you are thinking of purchasing a pre-paid funeral plan then our advice is to speak to your local independent funeral director, who will give you all the advice you require. Always ask how much money from the funeral plan will be paid towards funeral costs. They will also help you to avoid being ripped-off by unscrupulous organisations whose sole motive is to make as much profit as possible.

If you would like to discuss our Golden Charter pre-paid funeral plans please do not hesitate to contact Frank Massey & Son Ltd. You can be confident that as a family owned and run business, helping families in Hyde and surrounding areas for over 100-years, we are perfectly placed to provide all the advice and assistance you need. You can call us on 0161 368 2565, you can visit our website at:, or you can call into our offices at 49 Mottram Road, Hyde SK14 2NN. (We’re right next to Morrisons.)


Your Tax Shop based in Ashton under Lyne received 2 winning awards at this year’s Iris Customer Awards, which took place on Tuesday 9th October at the Twickenham Stadium in London.

They are extremely proud to announce winning IRIS small firm of the year 2018 and Client Excellence firm of the year 2018.

In addition to Your Tax Shop winning the 2 awards the 2 partners Yvonne Cookson and Fiona Heyes were shortlisted for Practice Manager of the year and Accountant of the year.

The inaugural awards were an enormous success amongst small and large accountancy practices all over the country and there was genuine shock and jubilation from all the winners.

If you want to be represented by a multi-award winning team, please contact: Your Tax Shop on : 0161 339 5689



As the largest professional services firm in Tameside, everyone at Bromleys takes immense pleasure in seeing the area go from strength to strength.

Projects and initiatives under way across the borough give us great confidence for the future.

It is exciting to see the Vision Tameside master plan progressing, with phase two of this transformational scheme now well under way on our door step.

This phase involves creating a new advanced skills centre for Tameside College in the heart of Ashton, alongside a joint service centre for Tameside Council and partners

The impact of these developments will be far-reaching, helping to further revitalise the town centre and equip Tameside’s young people with the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly-changing economy.

Bromleys’ commitment goes way beyond providing high-quality legal advice to businesses and private clients.

We are also passionate about giving back to the community and, to this end, we have increased our sponsorship of Curzon Ashton FC. We wish the club well on and off the field this season.

Our backing for the Pride of Tameside Business Awards has continued, demonstrating our commitment to supporting the business community.

We’ve also been instrumental in setting up the Tameside Women in Business networking forum, which has got off to a flying start.

Tameside’s future looks bright and we are proud to be playing our part in its development.

How we can help

Should you need expert legal advice regarding any property law matters, please contact Paul Westwell at or telephone 0161 330 6821.


Responding to Theresa May’s announcement yesterday on plans to extend civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, Graeme Fraser, the chairman of Resolution’s cohabitation committee, said:

“The announcement is surely a victory for equality, with the extension of civil partnerships to all, allowing those who do not wish to get married and their children the benefits of a formalised relationship. It is also a step in the right direction as it helps bring family law in line with modern values.”

If a same-sex couple enters into a civil partnership, they will be able to make a financial claim in the event of dissolution. If one of them dies, the surviving partner will be able to claim against their late partner’s pension scheme.

Civil partnerships are infinitely preferable to unthinking and risky cohabitation. Two-thirds of people who cohabit don’t actually realise they are unprotected, as “common-law marriage” does not exist. Cohabiting couples are less likely to formalise their relationship through marriage or a civil partnership, as they do not realise that they are at risk if they separate or if one partner dies without making a will.

Resolution has repeatedly called on the government to urgently provide at least basic rights for cohabiting couples. Hopefully, in time, the government will change the law to allow the justice system to recognise unmarried family units, irrespective of any formal registration, to financially protect the couple and any children.

In the meantime, Keith Bull, head of the family & divorce department at Bromleys Solicitors LLP in Ashton-under-Lyne, recommends that unmarried couples protect themselves by entering into a cohabitation agreement. This will regulate their cohabitation and/or a trust deed stating how their property is to be divided in the event of the death of one party, or their relationship coming to an end, to save substantial legal fees and to give their relationship certainty.

If you need any advice in relation to the above, or any other family matters, please contact our expert family & divorce team on 0161 330 6821 or email:

Keith Bull –

Denise Pinder –

Kristie Fawcett –

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please click here for dates and times – No appointment necessary.


As property values have risen over the years many people who previously did not have to consider Inheritance Tax are now finding themselves in that position.

For those with larger estates it is easier as the rules around gifting favour them, but it is not so easy for those with smaller estates who still need to do some planning. The gifting rules let someone with hundreds of thousands of pounds to give away, takes advantage of the tax breaks that become more generous with the length of time between the date of the gift and the time they die, while those who can only afford to make smaller gifts must live seven years to get any advantage from their gifts.

Everybody has an annual allowance of £3,000 which they can give away. This can be given to one person or divided up for example: £1,000 to each of three children.  This gifting does not count towards the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes.  There are other allowances such as for birthdays, Christmas and weddings.  Larger gifts that are made are known as Potentially Exempt Transfers or PETs.  When a PET is made if the person making the gift lives seven years from the date of making the gift then it falls out of their estate.  This is all well and good if you survive the seven years, but what happens if you don’t?

When you die, the gifts that you have given away in the last seven years are added up and use up the available nil rate band first (currently £325,000). This then reduces the amount of nil rate band available for the rest of the estate.  For those who have gifted over £325,000 however and lived between 3 and seven years there is something called taper relief.

If you die within three years of making a gift then tax is payable at the full 40% on the amount

Gifted over £325,000, however the effective tax rate for deaths after three to four years is 32% then 24% then 16% then 8% for each following year. This taper relief however only helps the wealthy as the gifting must be in excess of £325,000 to qualify for taper relief and not many people have that much available to gift away.

There are other ways in which to gift money without it being clawed back into your estate when you die. For all Inheritance Tax issues the best thing to do is seek advice, particularly when considering gifting.

How we can help

Contact: Laura Stansfield, Sue Darlington or Susanne Furness in our Wills, Probate & Planning for the Future department to discuss how one of our team of experts can help guide you through this process.


Tel: 0161 330 6821


Glossop and Manchester based law firm Davis Blank Furniss has appointed Libby Holding as the new head of its private client department.

Libby joins Davis Blank Furniss from Beaumont Legal in Wakefield. Her new role will see her focusing on a variety of core work including wealth and succession planning, inheritance tax advice, trust creation and administration, wills, lasting powers of attorney and estate administration.

Libby completed her LLB Law Degree at the University of Liverpool in 2008 and she then took the Bar Vocational Course at City Law School in London; she was called to the Bar 2009. Libby cross qualified and was admitted as a solicitor in 2011. She started in family law and then decided to move into private client work. She initially specialised in probate before shifting her focus to the full range of private client matters.

Kate Oldfield, managing partner of Davis Blank Furniss, commented: “We have seen a surge in demand for our private client services so Libby’s arrival is great news for the firm. She brings with her some fantastic experience which I know will benefit our clients and wider team.”

Libby added: “Davis Blank Furniss is a fantastic firm and seemed the right fit for me. I have a keen interest in business development, marketing and innovation within the legal sector so I am looking forward to growing the private client team in both offices.”

The firm has also announced that two of its team have qualified. Gregory Carr is now a solicitor in the Property department, whilst Rebecca Taylor has qualified as a solicitor in Dispute Resolution department.

Due to changes to the rules on pensions, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) are trying to raise awareness of pension scams.

Research now shows victims losing an average of £91,000 each last year!

The FCA and TPR have launched advertising campaigns targeting pension holders aged 45-65 as a YouGov poll found that 32% of this group would not know how to check whether they are speaking with a legitimate pensions adviser or provider.

One of the most common scams is to offer a ‘free pension review’. 12% of 45 to 65-year-olds surveyed said they would trust an offer of a ‘free pension review’ but It is thought that only a minority of pension scams are reported. The FCA and TPR are therefore asking the public to be vigilant and report these scammers

Pension scams cause serious financial and mental harm –If you are ever in doubt about a pension offer, visit the ScamSmart website.

The FCA and TPR are appealing to people to check who are they are dealing with and to be very wary of cold callers.

The advertising campaign shows the comparison between victims of pension scams and the lifestyles relished by the criminals behind the scams. Using TV, radio and social media adverts, it urges anyone who is contacted about their pension to visit ScamSmart before they do anything.

The government also intends to lay regulations to ban pension cold calling in the autumn.

As this is a fairly complex area, please contact one of the team at Your Tax Shop based in Ashton-under-Lyne on 0161 3395689 for any further information regarding your pension.

If you have an employee who is being made redundant are they entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and do they continue receiving SMP after the redundancy?

The simple answer is yes, as for an employee receiving SMP at the time they are made redundant the employer must discharge their full liability by either continuing to pay SMP to the employee based upon what would have been their normal pay period or by paying the SMP as a lump sum payment.

When SMP continues to be paid in the same way and at the same time when the employee stops working you should agree with them whether they require a form P45 or not. If they do then deduct tax on the remaining statutory payments using code 0T (S0T, if they are taxed at the Scottish rate) on a ‘week 1’ or ‘month 1’ basis. If they don’t require a form P45 then use their usual tax code for the statutory payments. If the employee requests their form P45 upon termination or before all of the SMP has been paid it is an indicator that the employee has or will be starting work for a new employer that she did not work for during the Qualifying Week (QW) and you will be able to explore this further. Where the employee requests their form P45 after termination but before all SMP has been paid or the form P45 is to be issued because you have made all payments of SMP then record the final payment date as their leaving date.

A lump sum payment of SMP can be paid to the employee where both the employer and the employee agree to payment in this way. There are however risks associated with lump sum payments as both the employer and the employee may pay more in National Insurance Contributions and the employee may pay more tax (although any overpaid tax would be repaid at the end of the tax year). Also if the employee starts work for another employer after the QW but before the birth of the baby the liable employer remains liable to pay SMP throughout the MPP for any complete weeks the employee does not work for that employer. If the employee ends her employment with that employer SMP will resume until the end of the Maternity Pay Period. If the employee were to start work for a new employer after the baby is born, but before the end of the Maternity Pay Period, who did not employ them in the QW their entitlement to SMP will stop. You would in either of these circumstances have overpaid wages which you will then need to recover from the employee and you will also need to recalculate and repay to HMRC any SMP recovered incorrectly.

For an employee who undertakes any work in a self-employed capacity during their Maternity Pay Period, then such work will not affect their payment of SMP.

As this is a fairly complex area, please contact one of the team at Your Tax Shop based in Ashton-under-Lyne on 0161 3395689 for any further information regarding SMP.