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Private Client Legal Updates - 13 July 2023

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

Wills – statutory legacy on intestacy

On 5 July, the government published the Administration of Estates Act 1925 (Fixed Net Sum) Order 2023 to increase the fixed sum statutory legacy that a spouse or civil partner receives under the intestacy rules where the intestate spouse/ civil partner dies leaving children. The amount of the legacy will increase from £270,000 to £322,000. The requirement to increase the legacy is triggered under Sch.1A paras 4(1) and (2) to the Administration of Estates Act 1925 by a rise of more than 15% in the consumer prices index. The statutory instrument comes into effect on 26 July 2023 and applies to deaths occurring after it comes into force. The Administration of Estates Act 1925 (Fixed Net Sum) Order 2023 (

Contentious estates – financial provision claim expires with death

The Supreme Court has ruled in Unger v Ul-Hasan deceased (2023 UKSC 22) that financial remedy proceedings on divorce under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 must be terminated if one of the parties dies. The court noted that the understanding that "financial provision on divorce only enables orders to be made as between living parties to a former marriage is also supported by the provisions which Parliament enacted in the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975." The implication being that, where a surviving party has a subsisting claim for financial relief from the deceased party, their route of claim is under the Inheritance Tax (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975; however, this route will only be available if the deceased party died domiciled in England and Wales. The ruling therefore particularly affects internationally mobile couples and could be a problem for the surviving party if the deceased party is non-UK domiciled. Unger & Anor v Ul-Hasan (deceased) & Anor [2023] UKSC 22 (28 June 2023) (; Financial provision claims expire with death of either party, says UKSC | STEP

Tax policy – Finance (No. 2) Act 2023

The Finance (No. 2) Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 11 July. The Act includes: changes to the taxation of low-income trusts which will come into effect in April 2024 (read more on this here); the withdrawal of UK tax relief from EU/ EEA charities; and the abolition of the pensions lifetime allowance charge (read more on this here). Separately, on 22 June, the Treasury announced that draft legislation for inclusion in the Finance Bill 2024 would be published on 18 July. Finance (No. 2) Act 2023 - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament; Draft Finance Bill 2024 legislation to be published on 18 July 2023 | Practical Law (

Tax policy – reliance on HMRC guidance

HMRC has updated its guidance for taxpayers "How HMRC advice and information can help you". The guidance includes information on the circumstances in which a taxpayer can rely on information made publicly available by HMRC on its website or through direct contact. The guidance states that a taxpayer may be able to rely on incorrect advice and information from HMRC, if it is reasonable for the taxpayer to expect this and "very unfair" for HMRC to act in a different way. The guidance also explains that there may be a "strong reason" for HMRC to act in a different way from the advice and information given. How HMRC advice and information can help you - GOV.UK (

Tax – digital assets

 On 28 June, the Law Commission published its final report setting out its recommendations on changes to the law in respect of digital assets (in particular crypto-tokens and cryptoassets). This includes the recommendation that a third category of personal property be created (via legislation) for digital assets, in addition to the two existing categories of choses of possession and choses in action. The report suggests that common law is the best way to determine which objects can fit within this new category and such objects need not necessarily be digital and could include assets such as milk quotas or carbon emission allowances. Digital assets: Law Commission publishes final report (alerter) | Practical Law (; Digital assets: Law Commission publishes final report (full update) | Practical Law (; Legislation needed to protect crypto-assets as 'third category' of property, says Law Commission of England and Wales | STEP


private client, privateclientupdates, wills, contentious estates, trusts, digital assets, tax policy