Individual Matters: COVID-19 reflections in solitude (with internet and email access!) NO2
What will life be like afterwards? It can be hard sometimes to believe that life will ever be ‘normal’ again. Everything has changed so much, for almost all of us, because of COVID-19. For those who, tragically, lose loved ones, life will indeed never be the same again. Those whose jobs or businesses are threatened or have folded may face a long and difficult road ahead. There will also be those who have found, in this strange period, the stimulus or the opportunity to make a big change in their life for the better, maybe starting a new business or radically overhauling and modernising the business they had, so that the future seems brighter than it would otherwise have been.
Yet although things will never be quite the same again, life’s essentials will continue for all of us. People will be born, marry and die. They will continue to plan for the well-being and futures of their children and those they care for. The development of their business or other objectives will return to a more familiar shape. They will continue to buy, sell and rent property, both as a home and as a commercial proposition.
All of these will need practical, financial and tax planning – and how will the government approach taxation and the need to raise funds after the crisis? These are all aspects that we can help you with.
A few are covered in this issue of Individual Matters and we will return to these wider issues in future Individual Matters.
- Hugo Smith looks at how, while falls and fluctuations in asset values have impacted people’s finances, they do provide opportunities for estate planning if circumstances allow here.
- New partner Lucinda Brown considers the possibilities offered by deeds of variation for the relatives or heirs to overcome problems where unintended consequences of a will or an intestacy arise on death here.
- Alastair Collett and Sabrina Underwood note that a government response has dashed hopes that, as a response to Covid-19, Will signing requirements might be temporarily relaxed in the near future here.
- Liz Neale provides the prospect of some financial relief for those who are administering the estate of a person who died before the coronavirus outbreak, where recent falls in value will be particularly keenly felt because inheritance tax will have been paid on the date of death values here.
- Hamish Frost focusses on the importance for trustees, at times of stock market volatility, of reviewing their investments in the light of the trust’s and the beneficiaries’ objectives here.
- Tristan Ward details factors for landlords to consider when a tenant, whether residential, commercial or agricultural, contacts their landlord to ask for flexibility about their rent payments here.
- Paul Gallagher and Carolyn O’Sullivan highlight the fact that considering the tax position on residential property disposals will in future be an integral part of the sale process and set out some timing relaxations here.
- Sheilagh Magee and Lara Mardell look at the possible dangers to an individual’s tax domicile status if they have returned to, or stayed on in, the UK because of Covid-19 here.
- An issue which may be of direct relevance to few readers, but which has pre-occupied the nation in recent weeks, is the position of NHS and other ‘frontline’ workers. The media have suggested many greater or lesser ways of showing appreciation, including a special exemption from inheritance tax. Here, Owen Byrne suggests that the legal machinery may already be in place for the government to confirm this.
If you would like to discuss any issue, whether in this newsletter or not, please get in touch with your usual BDB Pitmans contact, or else with me. Readers who are based near Reading may prefer to communicate with my partner there, Sheilagh Magee; and my partner Emily Taylor would be the natural point of contact for those nearer Southampton; legal director Owen Byrne is well-placed for those nearer Cambridge.
May I wish once again you, your families, and all you care about, well in these unprecedented times. If there is anything we can do to help ease the mental burden or give legal assistance on these or any other matters, do please get in touch.