A summary of legal updates for the Private Client industry over the past week is as follows.

Tax – Akshata Murty non-dom status

The tax rules for non-UK domiciled individuals have hit the headlines recently in relation to Rishi Sunak's wife, Akshata Murty, and her status as a non-dom. This status entitles Ms Murty to elect to be taxed on the remittance basis meaning her foreign dividend income (worth £11.6m last year) is out of the scope of UK tax. As the below article highlights, the point that sits uncomfortably is that the wife of one of the UK's top political office holders does not consider herself to be residing in the UK permanently or indefinitely – if she did, she would be UK domiciled under general law (and not entitled to claim the remittance basis). After the news story broke, Ms Murty announced that she will pay tax on all worldwide income going forwards and for tax year 2021/22 but not more historically. EPrivateClient - article (paminsight.com)

Trusts – Trust Register and Law Society guidance

On 6 April, the Law Society published two guidance notes on the Trust Register regime: one for non-corporate lawyers and one for corporate lawyers. The corporate guidance covers trust arrangements that corporate lawyers encounter in a transactional context and the extent to which such trusts need to be registered. Wedlake Bell formed part of the working group for the corporate guidance. TRS-legal-sector-guidance-corporate.pdf; TRS-legal-sector-guidance-private-client (1).pdf

Tax – De Beers residence case 

Oppenheimer v HMRC, 2022 UKFTT 00112 TC is a case on treaty residence and the operation of the tie-breaker rules in relation to Jonathan Oppenheimer, the great-grandson of the chairman of South Africa's De Beers diamond mining company. Oppenheimer is a South African national but globally mobile with personal and economic connections to both South Africa and the UK. HMRC claimed he was UK resident between 2010 and 2017, meaning income tax on £20 million of family trust remittances. The UK's tax treaty with South Africa contains provisions to determine tax residence in disputed cases. Oppenheimer was able to successfully prove that his centre of vital interests was in South Africa, not the UK. The case is fact-specific but could be useful for those with clients who have centres of operation in multiple jurisdictions. De Beers heir defeats HMRC in tax residence battle | STEP; Taxpayer's centre of vital interests in South Africa for the purposes of the residence tiebreaker in the South Africa/ UK double tax treaty (First-tier Tribunal) | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com)

Contentious probate – rights of foreign executors

Jennison v Jennison (2022 EWHC 792 Ch) relates to the ability of a foreign executor to bring a legal claim on behalf of an estate in England and Wales before the foreign grant of probate has been resealed in England. The executor in this case had proved the Will in Australia. The County Court held that the executor's failure to reseal the grant before issuing proceedings in England was no bar to the claim, so long as the resealing was effected by the time of the trial (which it was). This is the first recorded judgment on this particular issue. Failure to reseal grant of probate before issuing proceedings in England no bar to claim where resealing effected before trial (County Court) | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com)

Family offices – investment strategy and ESG

The below article highlights how environmental, social and governance ("ESG") considerations are becoming a prominent part of a family office's investment strategy. UBS’ global family office report revealed that sustainable investments could be found in 56% of portfolios and the trend is set to continue as family offices plan to increase their allocation to ESG strategies to 24% of their overall portfolio. EPrivateClient - article (paminsight.com)