Archive for February, 2015

Getting Old and Worried About the Future? – A Solicitor Can Help

Pensioners who are worried about the future should consider appointing a legal professional to manage their finances if they lose the ability to make decisions for themselves. Relying on family members to step in to the breach may well not be the right option as a court decision revealed. The retired academic at the centre of the case had moved into a nursing home after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. She had granted powers of attorney to her two sons, who were required to manage her affairs for her benefit. However, concerns had been raised as to their suitability for that role and an inquiry was launched by the Public Guardian, the official who looks after the interests of vulnerable members of society who have lost the capacity to care for themselves. At the Public Guardian’s behest, the sons were stripped ... Read more

Court Authorises Troubled Mum’s Involuntary Sterilisation

In a truly exceptional case, the Court of Protection has authorised the involuntary sterilisation of a learning disabled mother of six children on grounds that she lacks the mental capacity to make her own decisions in respect of contraception and that a further pregnancy would put her life in jeopardy. The woman had a very low IQ, probably suffered from an adjustment disorder due to sexual abuse she suffered as a child and had endured a tragic and complex obstetric history. She had neither the desire, nor the ability, to care for any of her children, whose ages ranged from six months to 12 years and all of whom had been placed with permanent substitute carers. She had a history of concealing her pregnancies and giving birth to her children at home without medical assistance. Her most recent birth had been ... Read more

Relief for Investors as Ombudsman’s Powers Boosted

Those who have lost money through investing in failed tax avoidance schemes can take comfort from a Court of Appeal ruling that their complaints can be considered quickly and at relatively low cost by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). A businessman had invested £2.3 million in a scheme which was designed to take advantage of tax breaks granted to the film production industry. The scheme did not yield all of the tax advantages he had hoped for and he complained to the FOS, which accepted that it had jurisdiction to consider the matter. In challenging the FOS’s power to hear the complaint, the limited liability partnership behind the scheme argued that it could not be viewed as a ‘collective investment scheme’ because its sole objective was the avoidance of tax. It was submitted that those who put their money into the ... Read more

Ten year-end tax planning tips

As the end of the 2014/15 tax year draws to a close on 5 April 2015, it is worth taking some time to review your affairs and make sure that you do not pay any more tax than you need to. Here are some tips. Don’t waste your personal allowance. The basic personal allowance for 2014/15 is £10,000. Pay bonuses or salary before 6 April 2015 or transfer income to a spouse or civil partner to prevent their allowance being wasted. Reduce income below £100,000. The personal allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 by which income exceeds £100,000. For 2014/15 it is lost when income reaches £120,000. To preserve your allowance and avoid high marginal tax rates consider deferring income, making pension contributions or giving to charity to take income below £100,000. Keep your child benefit. Child benefit is lost ... Read more
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