Swain family forced to pay high Inheritance Tax bill
After wealthy Christopher Swain died in Thailand following a heart operation, a messy probate battle ensued, as his daughters fought with his solicitors.
Shortly before his death, the girls claimed that Mr Swain’s solicitors allegedly failed to advise him not to sell his shares of the business after a management buyout.
This transaction meant that after his death, his children were faced with a £1m Inheritance Tax bill based on the value of these shares, which would have been avoided, if he had retained, rather than sold them on the basis of business property relief.
The subsequent court case however, found that the solicitors had not acted negligently and Mr Swain’s daughters now not only have to pay the £1m Inheritance Tax bill, but the high legal costs, too.
None of us know when our time is up but we can learn a lesson from this story. If you have dependents and are in business, remember that every legal transaction you undertake could well have a significant impact on your children when you’re gone. Make sure that you see appropriate probate advice so you can find out the best way to minimise any Inheritance Tax liability.