From the Editor - Hannah Downie introduces STEP Journal March 2014 issue

Saturday, 01 March 2014

I hope that in this bumper-packed issue of the STEP Journal you will find something of interest, wherever in the world your practice is based and your professional interests lie.

Latin America and the Caribbean form the regional focus of this issue, with insights from the BVI, Brazil, Bermuda and Barbados. On page 31, you will find Omonike Robinson-Pickering’s helpful account of how to deal with the shares of a deceased shareholder under BVI law, while, on page 39, Jerome Dwight explains why Latin American families intent on diversifying their holdings outside their home countries are looking to the Caribbean for solutions.

Helena Mendes (page 43) advises practitioners to be vigilant in light of Brazil’s Provisional Measure 627/2013, which, if passed, will significantly change the way Brazilian individuals will be taxed on their investments abroad when using offshore structures, especially private investment companies.

Meanwhile, Liza Harridyal-Sodha tells us (on page 37) that Barbados has witnessed an expansion of its offerings, with products ranging from the traditional (including international business companies, societies with restrictive liability and captive insurance) to the modern (private trust companies and foundations), with the introduction of real estate investment trusts the latest product in the jurisdiction’s portfolio.

Finally, don’t miss a review of the Bermuda court’s jurisdiction over Bermuda trust disputes (page 33), and Alex Potts’ analysis of two important Supreme Court of Bermuda cases.

Our special feature this month considers mental capacity, and first up we have an article by STEP’s UK Practice Committee reviewing exceptions to the golden rule. Recent cases have raised questions over the golden rule on assessing testamentary capacity, and the Committee plots a course through the apparently conflicting case law of England and Wales to provide clarity on practitioners’ duties (page 45).

Karl Dowling’s discussion of the implications of Ireland’s new mental-capacity legislation (page 52) follows hot on the heels of Lynne Bradey’s account (on page 49) of changes made to disabled trusts in the UK following amendments to the Inheritance Tax Act 1984.

Alex Elphinston offers a warning to attorneys and deputies in his timely reminder (on page 55) of the duties of an attorney under a property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney, and a deputy under a deputyship order, when it comes to investment and general management of money.

Meanwhile, Steven Appleton comments (on page 56) on the unique challenges involved in acting as litigation friend for a person lacking mental capacity in England and Wales.

Christine Smyth’s discussion of the factors a third party must establish in order to successfully succeed in a divorce application for an incapacitated adult in Australia rounds off this special focus, and is not to be missed (page 58).

And that’s only for starters. This issue contains all the regular features from Richard Frimston, John Harper, Amanda Edwards and Martyn Gowar. There’s also good news for STEP’s England and Wales members, with the launch of STEP’s new Code for Will Preparation in England & Wales. The Code lays out a set of ethical principles that demonstrate openly the standard of transparency and service a client can expect from a STEP member preparing their will. Turn to page 61 for a Q&A with Michael Young, Chair of the Professional Standards Committee.

STEP is a growing international organisation; our members are based all over the world. We always try to provide a breadth of coverage in the STEP Journal to ensure there is something of interest for everyone. Your feedback helps us to stay on top of the latest issues, so, if there are any topics you would like to see covered, please email: [email protected]

I hope you find this issue of the STEP Journal informative and insightful. And remember that reading the STEP Journal counts towards STEP’s CPD requirements.

Author block
Hannah Downie

Hannah Downie is Managing Editor of STEP Journal and its supplements.

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