John-Paul Dennis of Kirwans Solicitors gives his views on the 2015 Budget

Commenting on the release of this year’s Budget plans, head of private client and partner at Kirwans Solicitors, John-Paul Dennis, discussed his opinions on a range of areas.

On the topic of Deeds of Variation, he said:

“It is interesting to see that the Government has announced plans to review Deeds of Variation. They have stopped short of announcing any measures and I would be very surprised to see much change here.

Deeds of variation have provided an accepted means for thousands of families to retain and adjust their family assets for many decades. ‘Middle Englanders’ sitting on mid-size estates are due to be most affected by any changes to this process – a group that the Government would be unwise to target.

This may be behind the rather ambiguous review suggested in the budget. Many may feel that the tax payer is being let down by any suggested review to scrutinise the minutiae of a harmless deed of variation process which has proved highly useful for middle income families across the UK.”

Discussing the Annuities section, he said:

“The changes to annuities announced in today’s budget do open up a range of choices to the five million pensioners affected, but although the change may seem dramatic – most may find that they’re better off sticking with the annuity they have.

“Pensioners in normal situations won’t be significantly impacted by the change. People who may have taken out a joint life annuity and whose life situations have changed dramatically since they took out the annuity – either through the death of a partner or a divorce, may find that they benefit from selling off their annuity and looking at other options.

“But generally, I think most people will find that they are better off sticking with the annuity which they have purchased. We always recommend that our clients seek financial advice on such issues.”

On the Personal Tax Allowance (PTA) plans, he added:

“The increase in the Personal Tax Allowance will be a real boost for hard hit working people across the UK, particularly for lower-income groups.

“This, combined with the Help to Buy ISA scheme, and the rise in transferable tax allowances for couples, will help to make this a popular budget that appears to be in line with at least some of the crucial issues affecting the everyday woman or man on the street.”

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