A summary of key legal updates in the Private Client sector over the past week is as follows.

Finance Bill 2021 - Royal Assent

On 10 June 2021, the Finance Bill 2021 received Royal Assent. The new Act includes the freezes on the income tax personal allowance (£12,570), income tax higher rate threshold (£37,700), CGT annual exemption (£12,300) and IHT nil-rate band (£325k) and residence nil-rate band (£175k). It also includes the 2% SDLT surcharge on foreign buyers of residential property and the temporary increase in the SDLT nil-rate band. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2021/26/pdfs/ukpga_20210026_en.pdf 

Digital assets - Apple and LinkedIn accounts 

Apple has announced that it will be adding a digital legacy service for user accounts, to allow Apple users to grant access to a named individual (an "administrator") or choose to have their Apple accounts deleted. The new function is expected to be officially released later this year (date to be announced) but in the meantime Apple have set up a dedicated "digital legacy" web page, giving logged-in users the option to specify that their account be deleted after their death. LinkedIn also now offers options for PRs to close or memorialise a deceased person’s account. Progress on digital legacy planning from internet service providers | The STEP Blog

Professional deputies and remuneration

Riddle v Public Guardian (2021) EWCOP 38 involves a professional deputy and whether he had charged excessive fees. The Court of Protection ruled that the professional deputy (Andrew Riddle) cannot charge fees at solicitor rates in cases where the local authority had declined to act as deputy. Court of Protection Practice Direction 19B sets out separate fixed rates for solicitors and public authority deputies, with discretion for the Court to apply these rates to other professionals. Andrew Riddle, whilst the manager of deputyship services firm ("Professional Deputies"), was not a solicitor, and did not obtain the Court's authorisation before charging solicitors rates. He failed to convince the Court that his qualifications and experience entitled him to charge at those rates. Riddle v Public Guardian [2021] EWCOP 38 (19 May 2021) (bailii.org)

US beneficial ownership registers

The US government has published a national security study memorandum which pledges that the Biden-Harris Administration will bring transparency to the US across various initiatives, including by accelerating ongoing efforts to establish a "beneficial ownership" registry and requiring shell companies to proactively disclose their true owners. FACT SHEET: Establishing the Fight Against Corruption as a Core U.S. National Security Interest | The White House

Court of Protection consultation on remote hearings

On 10 June, a two-week rapid consultation on remote, hybrid and in-person hearings in the family justice system and the Court of Protection was launched. This seeks to draw out good practice from the remote and hybrid hearings during the pandemic and provide evidence to assist with decision-making on future ways of working. The consultation closes on 27 June 2021. COVID-19: President launches two-week rapid consultation on remote, hybrid and in-person hearings | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com)