SRA Price Transparency Rules

From 6th December 2018 the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have made it compulsory for all SRA regulated law firms to publish price and service information in connection with the following areas of work:

  • Residential Conveyancing
  • Non-Contentious Probate
  • Motoring Offences which are ‘summary only’ offences
  • Immigration work (excluding asylum work)
  • Employment Tribunal Work
  • Debt Recovery up to £100,000
  • Licensing application work for businesses

The only work on the above list that this firm undertakes is Non-Contentious Probate work. We set out below, in compliance with the new regulations, information in relation to how we undertake Non-Contentious Probate work.

How we charge for Probate work
The first point to make is that the phrase ‘probate work’ covers an enormous variety of types of legal tasks we might undertake for a client. The amount of work we do will depend on the following factors:

  • Complexity of the estate in terms of number and type of assets, number and type of beneficiaries and whether the estate is a taxable estate or not
  • How much work the clients themselves wish to undertake and how much they wish us to undertake
  • Other initially unknowable at the outset factors such as HMRC’s actions or claims by creditors of the deceased
  • Any other unusual considerations that may be applicable in a particular case

How we cope with this ‘how long is a piece of string’ type scenario is as follows:

  • If all a client requires us to do in a straightforward estate is complete the IHT205 form and the Grant application from information they give us we charge a set fee of £350 plus VAT plus the Court fee (currently £273 plus £1.50p per copy Grant).
  • We only charge by either hourly rates or a fixed fee. We never charge a percentage of the estate as we regard this as old fashioned and potentially unfair to clients in a large but fairly straightforward estate. As hourly charging can also reward inefficient working, we would normally look to agree a fixed fee for either the whole job or the various phases of the job (if a degree of uncertainty remains after the initial scoping work) once it is clear from initial investigations how much work will be involved.
  • We agree and record at the outset what work we will be doing for the Estate and what work the personal representatives (or sometimes the beneficiaries) will be doing themselves.
  • We pride ourselves on our regular updating of clients on progress on their matter and we would always seek to immediately alert a client to previously unforeseen complications arising which might alter the cost of a matter.
  • In certain scenarios where predicting the turn of events is impossible (eg, if HMRC launch an investigation) then we always give the clients the option of setting a cap on fees above which we will not go without further authority.
  • We always try to delegate down the more procedural aspects of the work to lawyers with lower charge rates.
  • We make clear what work falls outside the scope of our retainer: in probate work this usually means transferring property, litigation connected to the Estate and on-going tax planning for recipients of money from the Estate.
  • We do not charge an extra fee if any lawyer here is an executor.
  • We interim bill, usually monthly and occasionally quarterly, so at all times a client is aware of the fees being incurred.

Hourly rates
This firms specialises in a limited field of work, namely probate, Wills, capital taxation advice, advice re Trusts and the administration of Trusts, elderly care, Power of Attorney and Court of Protection work and advice to the wealthy about estate or other wealth management (but not including regulated financial advice).

The 4 lawyers in the firm all do some of this work. Their charge rates from time to time will vary per our Terms of Business but at present they are:

James Morgan – Solicitor – £275 per hour plus VAT
Christina Attridge – Legal Executive – £200 per hour plus VAT
Laura Howard – Legal Executive – £200 per hour plus VAT
Lucy Dickerson – Para Legal – £180 per hour plus VAT

Timescales
It is almost impossible to say how long a probate case will last as again it depends on so many variables. What we can say is that we seek to obtain a representative Grant (ie, Probate if there is a Will and Administration if there is no Will) as fast as is possible within the bounds of also doing diligent information gathering in order to satisfy HMRC’s disclosure requirements. Factors that often delay obtaining a Grant include overseas assets, problematic assets to value (eg, houses with title or structural defects), hard assets to value (eg, private company shares) or a disorganised deceased whose assets are hard to identify. If there are hold ups in the probate process we will always seek to explain them and how long the delay may continue for.

Disbursements
By far the most common disbursement we may incur on an Estate’s behalf is the Court Probate fee. This is a non-VAT-able item. It is presently £155 plus £1.50p per copy Grant if a solicitor makes the application (higher if they do not).

The Court has now phased out Oaths so there is no longer an Oath Swearing Fee disbursement.

Other disbursements that may be incurred in a probate are fees for Bankruptcy Searches against beneficiaries, Land Registry Searches, Counsel (if a barrister is needed), Travel Expenses (45p a mile), S.27 Trustee Act Notices to find/protect against a deceased person’s creditors, Property, Share and Chattel Valuations, Share Registrars and Genealogists to trace missing heirs. We will always let you know the likely cost of such disbursements before they are incurred and whether that cost is liable to VAT on top.

Regulatory Matters

Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited is a company registered in England and Wales Number 10327429 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The Rules which apply to Solicitors can be found in the Solicitors Regulation Authority Handbook at https://www.sra.org.uk/handbook.

Professional Indemnity Insurer
In accordance with the disclosure requirements of The Provision of Services Regulations 2009, our professional indemnity insurer is HDI Global Specialty SE – UK, 10 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 3BE.

Complaints
Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited will always strive to provide a high-quality service for our clients.  However, should an occasion arise where you have concerns that you have been unable to resolve with the person primarily responsible for your matter, a copy of our complaints procedure is available for download by clicking here or from the Office Manager by email suzanne@morgan-ttp.co.uk or by telephoning 01553 604200.

Explanation of S.21 IHTA 1984 and Bennett v IRC

A very useful gifting exemption is the exemption which applies to gifts which can be characterised as “normal expenditure out of income”. To comply with this exemption certain principles must be strictly adhered to. I set out these basic principles for your future reference in the paragraphs below.

Basically, Section 21(1) Inheritance Tax Act 1984 allows an individual to make Inheritance Tax exempt gifts provided the gifts can be characterised as being:

  • part of the donor’s normal expenditure;
  • made out of the donor’s income, taking one year with another; and

provided that, when one takes out these normal expenditure gifts from normal income, the donor is left with sufficient income to maintain his/her usual standard of living.

Case law, particularly the case of Bennett v IRC, has provided us an interpretation of what the above test really means.

The first point to note about the test is that the Revenue applies a subjective test and therefore it is the normal expenditure of the particular donor and not the normal expenditure of an average man that is analysed. This naturally helps the income rich taxpayer.

The second important point to note is that the normal expenditure must be part of a “settled pattern of expenditure”. This means that whilst there is no fixed minimum period during which the gifting must have occurred there must be evidence that an intended pattern of payment had been established and there was an intention for that pattern to remain in place for more than a nominal period. This, of course, is designed to frustrate “death bed” resolutions to make periodic payments for life. Generally, the Revenue consider a period of at least three or four years is the minimum to reasonably assess whether a settled pattern has emerged although this is not exclusive and a single gift can be exempt if, for instance, it is the first payment under a Deed of Covenant or the first of an intended series of premiums on a life policy.

The third important element of the test is that the gift must come out of “income” and this strictly means income arising in the year in which the gift is made. Therefore, if one invests income year on year with a view to making large lump sum payments of rolled up income every few years and then using that rolled up income to make gifts then this will not qualify for exemption.

A fourth and final consideration that must be borne in mind is that the donor must be able to still maintain their usual standard of living. This means that it is not permissible to make gifts from normal income which would lower one’s standard of living but then maintain it by recourse to capital. It is therefore a good idea to keep a record of total annual income and total annual expenditure so one can easily show there was excess income available.

In conclusion, therefore, the sort of gifts that may be made are regular payments of premiums on life policies, payments made in accordance with a covenant or regular payments of a fixed amount of cash annually. A classic example is paying grandchildren’s school fees. Ideally payments should be made annually at about the same time of the year to make the “pattern” obvious. Finally, you must bear in mind that it is a subjective test that the Revenue will apply and the Revenue will only give a ruling once you are dead (unless you do a pilot settlement) so there is always something of an inherent gamble in any arrangement you come to but this exemption should not be refused if one adopts the above principles.

A brief guide to trusts and trustees

TRUSTS AND TRUSTEES

  1. WHAT IS A TRUST?

The concept of a trust is derived from a 12th century requirement in England to have a protective measure ensuring that wealth in the form of land passed down in a controlled manner from one generation to another. The trust mechanism had a secondary function of reducing the incidence of taxation. Despite the centuries during which trusts have existed, there is no comprehensive definition of “trust”. One of the best available is that contained in Pettit’s Equity, Fourth Edition, which defines it as follows:-

“A trust is an equitable obligation, binding on a person (who is called a trustee) to deal with the property over which he has control (which is called the trust property) either for the benefit of persons (who are called the beneficiaries or the cestius que trust) of whom he may himself be one, and any of whom may enforce the obligation, or for a charitable purpose, which may be enforced at the instance of the Attorney General or for some other purpose permitted by law though unenforceable”.

The Hague Convention on the Recognition of Trusts reflects this description in Article 2 which reads as follows:-

“For the purposes of this Convention the term “trust” refers to the legal relationship created inter vivos or on death – by a person, the settlor, when assets have been placed under the control of a trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary or a specified purpose”.

The modern position is that trustees’ obligations will be enforced by the English Courts, as well as the vast majority of other common law jurisdictions which developed their main system of law from the law of England. These jurisdictions are the other parts of the UK with separate legal systems (such as Scotland and Northern Ireland), and ex-British colonies and protectorates (such as the USA, Australia, Canada, Jersey, Guernsey and the Cayman Islands).

  1. WHY CREATE A TRUST?

Trusts may be used for a great number of different purposes, and can be structured to suit the particular circumstances of the settlor and the beneficiaries. The more common uses of trusts

–         to hold the assets for minors or persons who are physically or mentally incapable;

–         to protect the assets against those beneficiaries with a tendency to spend;

–          to attend to the succession of the assets on the settlor’s death;

–          to provide a level of asset protection for beneficiaries who may become bankrupt or divorced;

–         to provide for charitable purposes or objects;

–         to provide for confidentiality;

–         to assist with tax planning;

–         to hold pension funds and insurance policies.

  1. THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRUSTS

There are a number of different types of trust, but they broadly fall into one of the following categories. Each type is treated in its own way for tax purposes, and trustees should ensure that they understand the nature of the tax obligations, and consider appointing a professional adviser to assist in connection with the trust and its tax affairs. The principal trusts are:

–          A Bare Trust: The beneficiary of this type of trust is fully entitled to both the capital and income of the trust property. The trust property is held in the name of a trustee, but that trustee will have no discretion over what income to pay to the beneficiary. The trustee is in effect a nominee in whose name the property is held.

–          An Interest in Possession Trust: In this type of trust the beneficiary has the current legal right to the income from the trust, and the trustees will have no power to withhold income from the beneficiary other than to meet certain expenses. The beneficiary need not, and often does not, have any rights to the capital of such a trust. Normally the capital will be payable to a different beneficiary, or beneficiaries, at a specific time in the future, or after a specific future date — most usually after the income beneficiary (often called “the life tenant”) has died. The trust deed may give the trustees the power to pay capital to that income beneficiary if they see fit.

–          A Discretionary Trust: The trustees of this type of trust have the discretion how to use both the income and the capital of the trust. They may be required to use any income for the benefit of particular beneficiaries, but it is often for the trustees to decide how much is paid and how often the payments are made. The trustees may, or may not, be allowed to accumulate income within the trust for so long as the law permits rather than passing it on to the beneficiaries. No beneficiary may demand either income or capital. These trusts are probably now the most common.

–          An Accumulation and Maintenance Trust: This type of trust permits the trustees to use income for the maintenance of the beneficiary before the date on which that beneficiary becomes entitled to the property of the trust, or to an interest in possession in it, but the accumulation aspect permits the trustees to accumulate the income of the trust until a certain date at which time the beneficiary, or beneficiaries, will become entitled to the property of the trust, or to the income arising from it. In other words, the Trust is a hybrid and starts discretionary and ends up like an interest in possession

  1. WHAT ARE THE DUTIES, OBLIGATIONS AND LIABILITIES OF A TRUSTEE?

Trust law has evolved over the centuries and is mainly based on case law clarifying trustees’ powers and duties. The courts judge the actions of a lay (ie non-professional) trustee as requiring the standard of behaviour that would be expected of an ordinary and sensible businessman. A professional trustee is expected to give a far higher standard of care and skill to the role.

–          On acceptance of a trusteeship, the trustee should ensure that he understands the trusts involved, and in particular who the beneficiaries are, so as to ensure that he does not distribute trust property to someone who is not entitled. Trust property should be placed in the names of the trustees, or a nominee (if the trust deed expressly permits this).

–          Trustees are under a duty to invest trust funds prudently, keeping an even balance between beneficiaries where they have differing interests in income and capital. They should invest prudently, avoiding speculative investments. Trustees may only invest trust funds in investments which they are authorised to invest in by law subject to modification in the trust deed. In most trusts the restrictive statutory investments permitted are expanded to allow the trustees to invest in whatever an absolute owner would be able to invest in subject to a duty to consider ‘diversification’ (ie, not all ones eggs in one basket). Trustees are also under a duty to keep the investments under review to the same extent as would a reasonably prudent businessman in respect of his own affairs. For example, with quoted shares, periodic reviews coupled with the input of a professional investment adviser should be sufficient.

–          Trustees are under a duty to maintain accounts and produce them for the beneficiaries on request. Whilst trustees are not obliged to provide beneficiaries with free copies of the accounts, this has become quite common.

–          Trustees are under a positive duty to distribute to the correct beneficiary. They can recover payments made to the wrong person where a mistake arose over fact rather than law. An aggrieved beneficiary, as well as having recourse against the trustees, can seek to trace property given to the wrong person by the beneficiaries. Where trustees have acted honestly and reasonably, they have protection against liability for breach of trust and distributing property incorrectly.

–          Trustees are under a duty not to profit from their trusteeship, and therefore there is no entitlement to fees or remuneration other than for professional trustees as provided for in the trust deed. Trustees are allowed to be reimbursed for expenses they incur. They should not place themselves in a position of conflict as regards their fiduciary duties, and cannot purchase trust property or derive any benefit from it unless expressly permitted by the trust deed.

–          Trustees can only exercise powers which are available to them either at law or as given by the trust deed itself. In exercising any power, the trustees must consider all the circumstances, including the legal consequences. Generally, if trustees exercise a power honestly, the Court will support their decision even if they would have reached a contrary view themselves. They must make their own decisions unless they are authorised to delegate them. Trustees can protect themselves by obtaining the informed and legally binding agreement of all persons adversely affected as a result.

–          Courts will enforce trust powers if trustees do not exercise them, and where they are required to exercise them, they must do so within a reasonable length of time.

–          Generally, trustees should be unanimous, but some trusts give trustees the power to act by majority via the trust deed (albeit that this is academic if there are only two trustees) and charitable trusts have this power automatically.

–          Dependent on the type of trust, trustees may have powers to apply income or capital in favour of beneficiaries. For example, trustees of a discretionary trust have the power to appoint income to any of the beneficiaries completely at their discretion. They also have the power to determine which of the beneficiaries takes capital, and whether by outright advance or loan. Trustees also have discretions over income in trusts for infant beneficiaries where the statutory rules apply, or as contained in the trust deed. Discretions must be exercised reasonably and not capriciously.

–          Again depending on the type of trust, it may give trustees certain powers over capital including a power of appointment in favour of a class of beneficiaries, a power to transfer capital between settlements, to allocate assets amongst various beneficiaries and to advance capital to them. The trustees may have powers to determine which beneficiaries take capital and whether it is by outright advance, loan or possibly on a fixed interest trust.

–          Beneficiaries have no automatic right to interfere with the administration of a trust whilst the trust affairs are being properly run. If the administration is not being carried out correctly, the beneficiary can take steps to ensure proper administration and preserve his interests under the trust. This almost invariably involves the assistance of the Court. A beneficiary has the right to see trust documents and records. Items recording the reasons for trustees exercising their discretion are generally private to the trustees. The Courts will not support attempts by the beneficiaries to limit, fetter or interfere with the exercise of a trustees’ discretion.

At Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited we have a Trust team. We provide a comprehensive service to individuals in respect of Wills, the creation and administration of trusts, landed estates, probate, asset protection, inheritance and estate planning, attorneyship and the Court of Protection. We have also advised on cross-border issues of estate devolution and taxation in relation to individuals with assets outside the UK.

Tax advice provided includes Inheritance and Capital Gains tax planning, post-death planning, property taxation, Inland Revenue investigations and the taxation of UK trusts. We also do a limited amount of Income Tax advisory work but not generally VAT advice work.

This note is intended to give you an outline of the different types of trust and the duties placed on trustees. It is not intended to give and may not be relied upon for legal advice in isolation.

Instructions when signing a will or codicil

The rules on validly signing a Will or Codicil are very strict and must be followed precisely or else the execution may subsequently be ruled invalid. The following guidelines should therefore be strictly followed. Alternatively, one should execute the Will or Codicil at the office of the lawyer who drafted it to ensure a valid execution.

  1. A Will or Codicil must always be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are over 18 years of age, have legal mental capacity and are not in any way closely related to or married to any person taking a benefit under the terms of the Will. The witnesses should also not be persons appointed an executor or trustee under the Will or be the spouses of such persons.
  2. Whilst the witnesses need not know the content of the Will, they need to understand they are witnessing a Will and they should both not just be in the room but actively observing the person signing the Will when the signature is made.
  3. The signature should be in ink not pencil and the date of the signing should also be added at the same time as the signature. The signature should be a person’s usual signature, say for signing a cheque. The signature should be at the end of the Will in the space indicated.
  4. Once the person signing the Will as their Will has signed (and couples signing similar Wills should always ensure they sign their own Will not their spouse or partners by mistake) then the witnesses should put their full names, usual signature, address and occupation in the space provided at the end of the Will.
  5. If there are any amendments to be made to the Will these should be in pen not pencil and must be initialled not just by the person signing the Will but also by both the witnesses.
  6. Nothing should be attached to the Will by staple or paper clip. No pages should be added or removed from the Will or Codicil being signed and in the rare case where a Will is not bound or at least stapled together it is often prudent for the signing person and the witnesses to sign each page.

Anti-Money Laundering Requirements

All firms of solicitors, accountants, banks and other financial institutions have a legal obligation to ensure that they have procedures in place designed to combat money laundering.

When acting for you we are obliged to establish your identity and to keep evidence that we have done so.  We will ask you to provide confirmation of both your name and address.  The list below provides a guideline of documents that can be used:

List A – Proof of Identity:

  • Current signed passport
  • Current UK photo-card driving licence
  • Photographic registration card for people self employed in the construction industry (C1S4)
  • Firearms or shotgun certificate
  • Bus pass with photo
  • National identity card containing photograph

List B – Proof of address:

  • Recent Utility bill or statement less than 3 months old (not mobile phone)
  • Local Council Tax bill for the current year but less than 3 months old
  • Current UK photo-card driving licence (if not used for List A)
  • Bank, Building Society or Credit Union statement or passbook containing current address
  • Water bill issued for the current financial year
  • Recent Mortgage Statement from a recognised lender for last full year
  • Solicitor’s letter confirming recent house purchase or Land Registry confirmation of address
  • Council or Housing Association rent book/statement or tenancy agreement for current financial year
  • Current house or motor insurance certificate
  • Confirmation from the Electoral Register that client lives at the given address

Please Note:

One form of identification cannot be used for both name and address.  For example, if a current UK driver’s licence is accepted as proof of name, it cannot then also be used as proof of address.

Corporate and other Business Clients:

Partnership of non-regulated professionals (including an LLP) with 5 or less partners, identity evidence for the individual responsible for the transaction and all individual partners.

Partnership of non-regulated professionals (including an LLP) with 6 or more partners, need full name of partnership, identity evidence for the individual responsible for the transaction and one other partner and all other individuals who directly or indirectly are entitled to or control 25% or more of the capital, profits or voting rights.

Companies (including a UK LLP) not listed on a regulated market such as the London Stock Exchange, a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation is required, together with identity evidence of the individual dealing with transaction and identity evidence of all other individuals with 25% or more of the shares or voting rights of the company.

Companies (including a UK LLP) listed on a regulated market such as the London Stock Exchange, a copy of a dated page from the website of the relevant stock exchanges, together with identity evidence of the individual dealing with transaction and identity evidence of all other individuals who exercise management control.

Privacy Policy

Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited (Solicitors):

Your privacy, and the care and security of your personal information is extremely important to us. Please read our Privacy Policy carefully; it explains what personal details we collect from you; how we go about gathering this information; how it is processed; who we might share it with and why. It also covers your choices and rights in respect of personal data and the steps that we take to keep your information secure.

From time to time we may need to make changes to our policy. The latest version will be shown on our website, www.morgan-ttp.co.uk If we make any major changes, such as how your personal data will be processed, we will contact you directly.

This Privacy Policy applies to clients of Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited.

Should you have any queries about this Policy, or the information we collect or use about you, please contact us by e-mail on info@morgan-ttp.co.uk or by writing to James Morgan, The Data Protection Lead, at Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited, Westgate House, 42 Chapel Steet, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 1EF.

How we obtain your personal data

Your personal data and the information that we collect from you:

In order that we can act for you in an efficient and appropriate manner, we need to gather your personal information. Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, part of which requires us to ‘know your client’. It is therefore important that as part of our initial and ongoing advice process, we gather all of the information that will enable us to provide you with the best possible legal services solution.

This information will usually be recorded by your legal adviser and supplemented in meetings or by file notes. The information that we will collect and use includes:

  • Personal details such as your name, address, date of birth, and how we can contact you
  • Family details, such as children and dependants
  • Your financial details, such as income and expenditure, your assets and liabilities and bank account details
  • Information about any existing or previous Wills
  • Copies of documents that we use to verify your identity in compliance with Anti-Money Laundering regulations, e.g. passport or driving licence
  • Sensitive personal information, for example, bank account details, tax records and national insurance number. We will only collect the information that is needed to provide the service you have requested, or to comply with our legal obligations

During the period in which we provide you with legal services, we may gather this information from you in a number of ways:

  • At a meeting between you and your legal adviser or another member of the Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited team
  • During telephone conversations with us
  • By e-mails or letters that you send to us

 

Information that we collect from other sources:

We may obtain personal information about you from other sources, such as:

  • When an existing client or another professional, such as your accountant or financial adviser, recommends our services to you. However, this would only occur if you had permitted the other party to pass this information to us. The personal information would be restricted to essential information such as contact details and a general idea of the area of legal advice in which you are interested
  • Where you are not able to provide us with full or up to date information about your existing legal advice we will as necessary, with your authority, contact other advisers. It may, with your authority, also be necessary to ask another legal adviser for your previous file and any appropriate stored documents

How we use your personal data

We use your personal data to:

  • Provide you with legal advice
  • Arrange legal matters on your behalf, such as production of a Will
  • Administer, intermediate and report on legal services
  • Comply with regulatory and legal requirements
  • Handle any complaints

Your data may be gathered, recorded, stored, transferred, posted or submitted in various formats:

  • Electronically, for example our ‘back office’ storage system is computerised. The majority of business transactions are conducted electronically and we send and receive emails and text messages
  • Telephone conversations are recorded by written notes
  • In paper format, such as letters and reports sent and received by Royal Mail or other delivery providers

We undertake to protect your personal data at all times, in a manner which is consistent with our duty of professional care and the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and any subsequent data protection legislation. This includes taking reasonable security measures to protect your personal data in storage.

 

We will only ever collect and use information which is personal to you where it is necessary, fair and lawful to do so. That is to say, we will only do so where:

  • You have given us permission to obtain and process this information to enable us to provide the service that you are interested in. Where we need to obtain and process sensitive personal information, for example, relating to your medical information, we will obtain your explicit consent to do so using a data protection authority consent form, specifically designed for that purpose
  • It is necessary to enable us to provide the services that you are interested in, for example if you want us to provide you with a Will, we will require information which will include your name, address, date of birth, financial situation, details of the beneficiaries and executors etc
  • The processing of information is necessary for us to carry out your requirements, such as producing an LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) for you and then registering with The Court of Protection
  • Another example is where you wish us to provide an ongoing legal service; we would need to review the information that we hold to make sure that our advice to you remains suitable and if not, to recommend appropriate changes

We are required to process information to meet legal or regulatory obligations, such as:

  • It is a requirement of our regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), that we gather appropriate information from clients and potential clients and retain it for specified lengths of time
  • We must comply with anti-money laundering regulations, which require us to collect and retain documentary evidence of identity and source of wealth
  • It is in the legitimate interests of Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited, in order that we can manage our business effectively, understand our clients and offer good service

At least one of the above basis will apply whenever we process your personal data.

Use of your information for marketing purposes:

We do not normally send out marketing information, but there may be a time when we think it appropriate to inform you of things which we believe may be of interest or benefit to you, for example a relevant change in the law. The data protection legislation allows this as part of our legitimate interest in understanding our clients and improving the services that we offer.

If you do not wish us to collect and use your personal information in these ways, or where you decline to give your explicit consent to process sensitive personal information such as details about your health, it may mean that we will be unable to provide you with our services. Details of your rights under data privacy law are included in the section below entitled ‘Your rights as an individual.’

Our Website

Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited’s website does not use cookies. Our Quick Enquiry Form in the ‘Contact Us’ section is encrypted. If you get in touch with us via the Quick Enquiry Form we will only use your name and email address to reply to you; they will not be kept on file. Subsequently, should you become a client, full details will be taken in accordance with this Policy.

Sharing information with third parties:

Where necessary, we may share your information with third parties for reasons outlined in ‘How we use your personal data’, and on the understanding that they keep the information confidential. These third parties include:

  • Companies we have chosen to support us in the delivery of the services we offer to you. These include data and administration systems, technological support, cyber security etc
  • Accountants, Solicitors and Financial Advisers with your permission
  • Regulators and supervisory authorities such as the SRA, the Information Commissioner’s Office for the UK (the ICO) and The Legal Ombudsman
  • Law enforcement, credit and identity check agencies for the prevention and detection of financial crime
  • HMRC to obtain for example a Grant of Probate or to comply with tax legislation

Please rest assured that whenever we share your personal information, we do so in line with our obligation to keep your data safe and secure. We will never sell your details to someone else.

 

Where your information is processed

All countries within the EU must ensure the same high standard of data protection; countries outside of the EU may not provide the same level of legal protection in relation to your personal data.

 

‘Data controllers’ and ‘data processors’

We only collect and store your personal data in the EU. However, we may transmit that data to third parties (as detailed in the section ‘Sharing Information’) who may process that data in other countries, including outside of the EU. Most of the organisations that we transmit data to are ‘data controllers’ in their own right, which means that they are responsible for how they use your personal information, and the measures that they must take to ensure its security. They must have in place their own ‘Privacy Policy’, like this document, available on their website.

There are also third parties that we may deal with where we are the sole ‘data controller’ and they are the ‘data processor’. An example would be a company such as Disclosure and Barring Service (criminal records) checks. Although processors still have legal obligations under the General Data Protection Regulations, the ‘data controller’ should ensure that these obligations are being met. Accordingly, we would look to put in place contracts to make sure that your information is protected to at least an equivalent level as would be applied by UK / EU data privacy laws.

Data processing outside of the EU

The third parties with whom we deal may be global corporations, with branches located around the world. For example, our primary data management system provider, Advanced Computer Services Limited (for Solicitors), has a sub-processor based in India, as well as the UK. Although your data is held on our server and in the Advanced data centres based in the UK, there may be occasions where Advanced needs to rely on colleagues based outside of the EU, for example, to resolve a particular product support query. Access to data (hosted in the UK) is controlled by UK resources who will only grant access to resources in India on a role basis – i.e. Roll-Based Access Control (RBAC). In such situations, there is a possibility that Advanced personnel based in branches outside of the EU could access your personal data for the purposes of resolving such an issue. Advanced have Contracts in place with contractual clauses and GDPR compliant Data Protection clauses signed by the sub-processor and Advanced have systems in place to ensure that your data would be protected.

 

How we protect your information

Wherever personal information is collected, stored or processed in any way, we have written procedures and safeguards in place to protect its security. Likewise, controls are in place to minimise loss or damage by accident, negligence or deliberate actions. All our employees are regularly trained in data security, and it is a requirement that sensitive or confidential information must be protected, for example via encryption, when it is stored or transmitted electronically. The identity of an unknown enquirer is always established through the use of security questions, whether the enquiry is made or received and whether the method is the telephone or an electronic communication. Monitoring systems are in place to ensure that this happens.

How long do we keep your information?

Please note that we are required to keep your personal information for specified periods of time to comply with legal and regulatory obligations, even after you cease to be a client. The length of time varies depending on these obligations, for example:

  • HMRC requires records relating to business tax purposes to be kept for a minimum period of 6 years
  • The government requires Pension Trustees to retain relevant records 5 years after the last filing deadline
  • The Pensions Regulator requires certain information about pension schemes, and employee pension scheme records, to be retained for a minimum period of 6 years
  • The SRA requires firms to retain records relating to some types of legal services for up to 6 years, for example Powers of Attorney files and for other types of legal services up to 15 years, for example Probate files. We have a policy of retaining this information for much longer than the SRA minimum due to the fact the nature of Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited’s legal business is to build vital tax records and financial records for clients with whom we have an ongoing client relationship. We keep Wills files indefinitely

Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited may also keep relevant records for longer than the minimum periods stated, so that it may investigate and provide evidence in the event of an alleged complaint. This may be up to 12 years after the point of advice, or 12 years after a contract has ceased. The rationale behind this time frame is that an allegation may be made up to 12 years after the occurrence, or up to 3 years after the complainant becomes aware (or could reasonably have been aware) of the occurrence.

Your rights as an individual

You have several rights under data protection legislation regarding how Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited uses your information. These are:

The right to be informed

We must inform you, in a clear, fair and transparent manner, about what personal information we hold, the legal basis for holding that information, and how and why that information is used by us. We do this through this Privacy Policy.

The right of access

You have the right to access your personal information. If you wish to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you, you may make what is referred to as a data subject access request by writing to the Data Controller at Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited. We will respond promptly to any such request and in any event not later than one month from the date of receipt of the request (subject to us having the necessary information and authority in place from you to facilitate this request).

The right to rectification

You are entitled to have personal information rectified, if it is inaccurate or incomplete. Please notify us if this is the case, and we will correct this at the earliest opportunity. In most cases this will be within one month, but may take up to three months if the rectification is particularly complex.

The right to erasure

You have a right to ask for your information to be deleted or removed, however there may be circumstances where we are unable to comply with your request, for example if there is a legal or regulatory obligation to hold onto that information.

The right to restrict processing

You may ask that we block or suppress the processing of your personal information for certain reasons, such as where we no longer need the personal data, but you require it to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim. In such a situation we would still keep the information, but we would ensure that we would not use it in the future for the reasons stated.

 The right to data portability

You have a right to receive your personal data in a ‘structured, commonly used and machine readable form’ to enable you to move, copy or transfer the information from one IT environment to another in a safe and secure way. For example, you might want to transfer this data to another solicitor. Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited will comply with any such request.

The right to object

You can object to Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited processing your personal information where the basis for processing is for our legitimate interests. (Please refer to ‘How we use your personal data’ for further information). However, you do not have the right to object where we are processing your data on the basis of either fulfilling a contract, or to satisfy a legal or regulatory obligation.

Where the legal basis under which Morgan Trusts & Tax Planning Limited is processing your data is because you have given us consent, you do not have the right to object but you can withdraw your consent. Please note that this may result in our being unable to provide you with any further service.

The right to not be subject to decisions based solely on automated processing

We do not carry out any automated processing which may lead to an automated decision based on your personal data.

Important information

What to do if you have a complaint

If you have a complaint regarding the use of your personal data or sensitive information, please contact the Data Protection Officer; the contact details are given on the first page of this Privacy Policy. We will do all that we can to assist you. Should your complaint not be resolved to your satisfaction, you may refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), by telephoning 01625 545745 or 0303 123 1113.