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30 June 2020

Individual Matters: Socially distanced COVID-19 reflections

In the early days of lockdown we were all faced with a huge uncertainty – just what was this coronavirus, and how would it play out? We did, however, at least have considerable clarity as to what we were, and were not, allowed to do. Now, as lockdown eases, we have moved into a phase of constant uncertainty about quite how soon, and in what ways, we will be able to resume something more like normal in our personal and business lives. We can assist you in navigating many of those problems, so do not hesitate to get in touch if you think we can help.

In this third COVID-19 issue of Individual Matters we look at a range of current topics:

  • Mindful of the large numbers of weddings that have sadly had to be postponed, Roopa Ahluwalia suggests that engaged couples can put the delay to good use by reflecting on the less glamorous aspects of wedding preparation: making a pre-nuptial agreement and making or updating their wills. Click here.
  • Judith Millar analyses some of the best ways for the older generation to help the younger with the unexpected financial pressures produced by COVID-19, both in terms of providing immediate assistance and also in mitigating inheritance tax. Click here.
  • Almost every business is looking at how their organisation can ride out the COVID-19 storm and owner managers and executives may forgo bonuses or take a reduction in salary, and shareholders might perhaps be considering waiving rights to dividends. Carolyn O’Sullivan and Paul Gallagher consider the right timing for any waiver, to avoid being hit with an unexpected tax bill. Click here.
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic causing widespread school closures, the way in which pupils’ GCSE and A Level grades will be determined will be dramatically different this year. Instead of pupils sitting exams, grades will be awarded through a system that relies on teachers assessing their pupils’ grades. As such, we expect schools may see an increase in subject access requests (or SARs) from disappointed pupils seeking information as to how their grades were assessed. Oliver Willis and Aileen Redmond have prepared a short article outlining for parents, schools and governors how SARs may work in this context.
  • Lara Mardell and Judith Millar examine the position of individuals who have been unable or unwilling to return to their place of residence as a result of COVID-19 and who are, or possibly should be, concerned that they – and their companies or trusts – might become UK resident without having planned for this. Click here.
  • With China following through with a new national security law, Alastair Collett and Tim Hayes consider the announcement that Hong Kong residents with British national overseas (BNO) status will be offered a visa route to come to the UK. Although we await firm details on the route, this is at least more welcome news for BNOs. Click here.
  • Many flat owners will be interested in the outcome of recent cases affecting their relationship with their landlord and their neighbours, considered here by Hema Anand.
  • ‘Post-COVID – a world apart’. In an article written for the Global Family Office Community Journal, John Stephenson shares his view that the post-COVID world will not simply be able to pick up where it left off, but will need to do things differently for some time and in some cases for ever, if we are to bring about a fairer, safer and more resilient world.

As a semblance of normality returns clients will need advice on a host of issues, some novel, some matters that they felt were better postponed during lockdown. We are only a phone call or an email away.

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Southampton SO15 2BE

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