Covid -19 and succession planning

 Lawyers are generally very conservative – so it may sound a bit alarmist to hear us say “the world is ending!” At the time of writing, India is coming to grips with the terrifying ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (“COVID-19”)’ virus. There is something primal and scary about an airborne threat that can kill you – from something as simple as coming close to an infected person, or touching a door handle, etc. It makes us think about the fragility of life, and the need to protect our loved ones. Some people may believe the steps being taken at present are an overreaction – but are they?

As per the WHO, COVID-19 appears to target the elderly and individuals having underlying illnesses. The WHO mission to China found that 78% of the cases reported as of February 20, 2020 were in individuals between ages 30 and 69. In a matter of barely three months, COVID-19 has infected over 185,000 individuals, resulting in nearly 7,200 deaths, covering 157 countries and territories around the world. The Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan— was among the lone case involving an international vessel. In India, at the time of writing, 110+ individuals tested positive for the virus, with three fatalities. The virus knows no boundaries, gender or net worth, targeting poor and rich alike. Pandemics are an equalizer in society.


Continue Reading

 Pets as beneficaries in trust or will
Image Source: iStock | Livemint.com

The Private Client team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas shares their comments and opinions shared in an article in the  following Q&A which was published by the Mint Newspaper on 1 and the online edition of the same can be found at: https://www.livemint.com/money/personal-finance/you-can-t-name-your-pets-as-beneficiaries-of-a-trust-or-will-11582011911565.html

I am 61 years old and widowed. I have two dogs and a cat. Can I create a trust in their names to ensure that they are taken care of after my demise? What other options can I explore while planning my estate? Also, what will happen to the trust or any such entity after my pets die?

—Name withheld on request


Continue Reading

TESTAMENTARY TRUSTS or Will Trusts – OVERVIEW AND INSIGHTS

Trusts are recognised internationally as favoured vehicles for estate and succession planning. Although most private asset-holding trusts are created during the lifetime of the creator (settlor), there is another category of trusts called testamentary trusts. As the term suggests, testamentary trusts (also known as ‘Will-trusts’ in certain jurisdictions) are formed through testamentary instruments such as a Will, and which take effect only upon the death of the creator. This post seeks to provide an overview of the Indian law on testamentary trusts, and offer insights into their creation, function and utility.
Continue Reading

Over the past few years, many Indian business families have established estate planning structures, many of which comprise one or more family trusts. The main driver for these structures would have been tax driven considerations. Under the recent Finance Bill, 2017 (Finance Bill), there was a key amendment proposed to the Income-tax Act, 1961 (IT Act), which if passed would have had a significant impact on existing and future estate planning structures – by way of a ‘gift tax’ in respect of assets received by taxpayers without consideration or for inadequate consideration (Proposed Amendment).

Subsequently, the Proposed Amendment has been further amended by the Finance Act, 2017, as passed by the Parliament on March 30th, 2017 (Finance Act). In this article, we discuss the said amendment to the gift tax regime.

Under the IT Act, gifts received by individuals and Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), were taxed, subject to tax certain conditions and exceptions. However, other tax payers, such as unlisted companies, partnership firms and limited liability partnerships were not subject to gift tax, except if they receive shares of unlisted companies without consideration or for inadequate consideration. However, certain exceptions, namely receipts from relatives, gifts on occasion of marriage, etc had been retained.

In order to remove this disparity, the Finance Act provided that the ‘gift tax’ regime shall apply equally to all tax payers post April 1st, 2017.


Continue Reading