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RSPCA v (1) NORMAN JAMES SHARP (2) PATRICIA DAPHNE SHARP (3) JOHN EDWARD MASON

A testator's gift of the maximum amount he could give without inheritance tax becoming pay-able was a gift of only the unused nil-rate band after the value of a property also given in his will had been taken into account, rather than a gift equal to the entire nil-rate band.

10 January 2011

The appellant charity (R) appealed against a decision ([ 2010) EWHC 268 (Ch), (2010) STC 975) to dismiss its claim on the construction of a will. The testator (M) had, in a professionally drawn will, appointed the first and second respondents (S) as his executors. By cl.3 he gave the maximum amount he could "without inheritance tax becoming payable in respect of this gift" to be divided between S and the third respondent. By cl.4 he gave his property to S and provided that the inheritance tax, if any, due in respect of the property was payable out of the residuary estate. The will then provided for the payment of debts and expenses, and then provided that the residuary estate should be given to R. At M's death his estate comprised some £780,000; in addition his property was valued at £169,000. S administered M's estate on the basis that the cl.3 gift was equal to the entire nil-rate band for inheritance tax of £300,000, the property passed to them, and there was a residue to R su...

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