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Correct interpretation

21 May 2010
Issue: 4256 / Categories: Tax cases
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Sharp and others, Chancery Division

The claimant, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was the residuary legatee under a will. It claimed that the executors had misconstrued the gifts in the will.

The charity said that the deceased would have wanted to achieve the most tax-efficient outcome, and that the executors had ignored the basis on which inheritance tax would be charged. The claimant would have received a much larger legacy under the construction it put forward.

Mr Justice Peter Smith did not accept that the deceased’s had drawn up his will with the intention of ensuring that no inheritance tax would be payable.

The will had been drafted to include the possibility that the nil rate band might increase between the date of the will and death, and that if tax became due, it would be payable on the residue.

The defendants had construed the will correctly.

Issue: 4256 / Categories: Tax cases
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