A graduate legal executive at award-winning Dorset law firm Blanchards Bailey LLP has saved a client £40,000 in inheritance tax after a single meeting.
Meggie Crane, part of the expanding firm’s Private Client Team, identified the saving during a free consultation about a will.
The specialist in estate administration and planning, wills and power of attorney, met with a client who was administering her late mother’s estate.
The client had some experience of dealing with estates and wanted to simply collect her mother’s will so that she could proceed with her role of sole executrix.
Meggie, based at the firm’s Poundbury office, offered the client a free initial, no obligation appointment to go through the estate to make sure she was on the right track.
She said: “At Blanchards Bailey we routinely meet with clients in this way to ensure that they are not overlooking something important and to offer advice generally.
“Sometimes clients are completely in control and leave content with that reassurance, but sometimes we are able to offer expert advice that will prove very valuable to clients.”
During the meeting Meggie, who has worked within law in the Dorset area for more than 12 years, went through the estate after the client said it would be taxable.
The net estate was in the region of £430,000 and the deceased was divorced meaning that only a single nil rate band of £325,000 was available to set against the value of her estate.
At the date of death the deceased did not own a property. However, the deceased had sold her home in April 2016 as she had decided to move into a care home.
Although the bulk of her assets were now invested and she no longer held an interest in a property, Meggie was able to identify that as the sale had taken place after July 2015 the Residential Nil Rate Band would also be available to set against the estate.
Following the meeting, the entire estate passed free of Inheritance and a delighted client saved more than £40,000 – all from having a chat with a member of the Blanchards Bailey Private Client team.
Meggie added: “The Inheritance Tax Laws, and those relating to the Residence Nil Rate Band in particular, can be extremely difficult to navigate and this is just one of many examples of how taking expert legal advice from the outset can have huge benefits in the long run.”
Meggie, who is individually recognised for excellence in the UK’s leading law sector directory, the Legal 500, says the best part of her job is being able to guide her clients through what is a distressing and difficult time in their lives.
Eighty-strong Blanchards Bailey is a Legal 500 firm – making it one of the top firms in the South West – and is based in Blandford with offices in Poundbury, Shaftesbury and Weymouth.
The firm received unprecedented recognition in the annual publication, The Legal 500 2019/20, which mentions the firm in a record-equalling seven categories with eleven individual lawyers recommended.
Blanchards Bailey also won a hat-trick of titles at the 2019 Dorset Legal Awards: Law Firm of the Year (up to 99 employees), Company Commercial Team of the Year and Private Client Team of the Year.