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Weekly news review: father fights for family wealth, IHT increase out of synch with property price hike, dementia sufferers failed by care system

29 November 2013

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Sikh feud: The hearing of an elderly father who believes he is entitled to £50m – a third of his family's wealth – under Sikh and Hindu tradition was heard in a Mayfair hotel this week as he was too frail to attend court, reports The Times. The case of Bal Mohinder Singh and his son, Jasminder Singh, who is head of the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels group, continues.



Steep increase: The number of estates affected by inheritance tax each year is set to double as the threshold fails to keep up with rising property prices, reports The Telegraph. The £325,000 allowance freeze is in place until April 2018 while house prices are due to increase by 25.2 per cent by the end of that year.



Care failings: Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, plans to reveal where in the country the NHS is failing after warning that more than half of dementia sufferers are receiving inadequate care, reports The Times. There are 670,000 people in the UK with the condition and the figure is expected to exceed a million by the end of 2020.



Mortgage risk: Many mortgage applications have been instantly rejected after people took out payday loans, reports BBC News. Almost two-thirds of brokers had a client whose request for a mortgage had been declined, according to a Newsnight investigation. The trade body that represents payday lenders, the Consumer Finance Association, said it would consider warning customers about the consequences of such loans.



Care concerns: A two-year tax investigation into the social care sector has revealed almost half of private firms looking after the elderly paid their staff less than the national minimum wage. HMRC said this was "the highest level of non-compliance identified in this sector in the last five years" and released the figures following warnings that continuous low pay would lead to poor care, reports The Guardian.



Capped charges: Steve Webb, the pensions minister, has revealed that excessive charges on company pension schemes could be capped at less than 0.75 per cent a year, in an interview with the FT. The move could boost retirement funds by tens of thousands of pounds although some experts said the proposed cap was still too high, says The Telegraph.



Fee fury: The rates charged by some of the UK's top lawyers are more than 20 times the average £40 hourly figure of a criminal barrister, reports The Independent. Research from legal costs expert Jim Diamond shows fees have hit record levels and even newly qualified practitioners have doubled their bill since 2003.



Super healthy: Pensioners who suffer from any health condition are being deprived of £450 on average in annual old-age income because hundreds of thousands are being sold retirement policies designed for those who should live to about 93, according to a Telegraph investigation. The scheme affects an estimated 140,000 retirees.



Abandoned mother: A report by the Patients Association reveals that an 84-year-old woman was left alone for two days in hospital lying in her own urine because nurses were too busy to treat her while her family thought she was on the Liverpool Care Pathway, reports The Times. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said such cases "defy belief".



Death spiral: Michael Johnson, a research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies, has likened public sector pensions to Ponzi schemes - the disastrous scam that cost investors billions - and warned of their collapse, reports The Telegraph. He called on ministers to take urgent action.



Asset protection: Howden has hired Simon Aitken from Lycetts to run its new private client division, reports Post. The department will mainly offer tailored asset protection for high net worth individuals – covering property, valuables and investments such as forestry – for which demand has increased from clients and in the UK generally.



Inquiries dropped: The Pensions Regulator has dropped all the 89 investigations into non-compliant firms it opened in March, reports Money Marketing. The exercise looked at large firms suspected of breaking rules about automatic enrolment, the initiative launched in October 2012.

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Family Pensions Tax & Wealth structuring