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Technical articles

Battle of the ISAs »
Providing the Lifetime ISA is implemented as we expect, then from April 2017 first-time buyers will have a choice of the Help to Buy ISA and Lifetime ISA.
Trust wording »
One of the key benefits of trust law is that, apart from a couple of restrictions relating to legality and perpetuity, it is pretty much up to the individual settlor to decide the terms of a trust. It should go without saying that, in addition to the trust provisions being legal, the words used should make sense.
Staying invested through the turmoil »
Markets experienced significant turmoil as they attempted to price in the immediate impacts and longer-term risks of the surprise Brexit vote. European and FTSE 250 shares fell sharply, as did the Pound.
Mortgages: a route to consumers? »
On June 16, the research arm of Protection Review, known as The Syndicate, launched its 2016 report looking at consumer and adviser sentiment regarding protection and financial matters. The research showed that there was very little appetite among consumers to purchase protection products with 45% of those surveyed saying that nothing could persuade them to buy protection and only 24% of people saying that they were more likely than a year ago to review their protection needs with a view to increasing the level of cover.
Landlords reaction to BTL challenges »
Property Investors are facing a number of challenges in the market, the main ones being the increased stamp duty costs and the restrictions to tax relief due to be implemented from 2017, which could see landlords facing higher tax bills.
Understanding free cover offered by insurers »
Putting a protection plan in force can be a laborious and time consuming task. Whilst quotation portals such as iPipeline and UnderwriteMe are beginning to make this more streamlined, there are still a significant number of cases that cannot be placed on risk immediately. If the policy is being put in place to cover a mortgage, this could leave the life assured and their family exposed.
A Matter of Life and Death (Part 2) »
In our previous article, we examined the recent history of pension term assurance and group 'death in service' cover. In this article we look at some remaining issues and solutions and, in particular, relevant life policies. The article also describes where we are now that it has become clear that there was more to revised rules on paying lump sums in respect of individuals who die before the age of 75 than we might have first thought.
The tax outlook post the Referendum vote »
There we have it. The UK has voted for Brexit and, at the time of writing, Sterling has already dropped significantly against the US Dollar and the Japanese Yen… the new safe haven currency it seems. We also know that if there is to be a "post Brexit" (so called) "emergency budget" it will not be until after the appointment of the new Conservative leader and 'de-facto' Prime Minister.
Trusts and the residence nil rate band »
As is well known by now, from 6 April 2017 an additional IHT allowance will be available in respect of a residence which the testator owns or has owned in the past. This is called the "residence nil rate band" (RNRB) and will be given by an increase in the nil rate band available to the individual. Whilst we still don't have all the final detail (the downsizing provisions are still being debated and are to be included in the Finance Act 2016) we know enough to be able to include RNRB considerations in any estate planning exercise. This month we will consider how the RNRB provisions interact with trusts.
Single premium investment bonds »
We provide a summary of the valuation rules for death benefits for chargeable event and inheritance tax (IHT) purposes following the death of the sole or last surviving life assured under a single premium life assurance bond (Bond).
Jitters abound despite the solid economic data »
Markets are gaining in confidence that the global economic foundations are solidifying and threats are receding, although jitters remain near the surface. Uncertainty about economic and other policies may be among the most relevant sources of drag for the world economy. Currently, some of the open issues include: who will be the next US President? Will the Fed re-start its normalisation process in June or July? Will China continue with broad and aggressive stimulus? Will the UK remain a member of the EU? Is policy in Brazil likely to get a fresh start? Will Japan be the first advanced economy to attempt helicopter money?
A Matter of Life and Death »
The introduction of more flexibility in the way retirement benefits are taken from money purchase schemes (and by implication, defined benefit schemes), has been accompanied by significant changes to the rules relating to death benefits. The taxation of those death benefits is arguably a simpler topic now although greater flexibility has brought more complication in the area of survivor pensions.
Reform of the rules on the taxation of chargeable event gains on part surrenders »
At the March 2016 Budget, the government announced its intention to change the tax rules for calculating chargeable event gains on part surrenders and part assignments for value under life assurance policies.  The problem here is that under the current chargeable event system, chargeable event gains can arise which are disproportionate to the policy's underlying economic gain.  Following this announcement, HMRC has released a consultation document looking at ways in which the current position can be improved.
Deflation threat creates opportunity »
At the March 2016 Budget, the government announced its intention to change the tax rules for calculating chargeable event gains on part surrenders and part assignments for value under life assurance policies.  The problem here is that under the current chargeable event system, chargeable event gains can arise which are disproportionate to the policy's underlying economic gain.  Following this announcement, HMRC has released a consultation document looking at ways in which the current position can be improved.
What is value for Money? »
Independent Governance Committees (IGCs) have been with us for a year now. They are required in respect of workplace group personal pension plans and fill a gap that would otherwise be filled by trustees of an occupational pension scheme. They are designed to offer protection to members who have little practical knowledge of what is 'on offer'. The Office of Fair trading identified problems in the market including a weak demand side and potential for conflicts of interest.

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