Probate: heritage assets - could your artwork or antiques pay the inheritance tax bill?
Andrew and Sophie came into mediation to agree a financial settlement following their separation. Andrew was 42 and Sophie was 32. They had been married for approximately 4 years and did not have any children.
Their main asset was their matrimonial home which Andrew had purchased prior to them getting married with the help of various contributions from his family. They both had a small amount of savings and were working full time albeit that Andrew was self-employed.
Although they had both taken advice from their solicitors, they were keen to reach an agreement to save further legal costs as they felt that their assets were relatively modest. Their agreed starting point was that Andrew would pay a lump sum to Sophie but they had not been able to agree a figure. They therefore attended two mediation meetings.
At the first meeting they agreed a number of general principles which included Sophie’s acknowledgement that she should receive less than 50% of the available assets given the contributions which had been made by Andrew. They further agreed that neither of them was seeking maintenance from the other. They had a number of queries in relation to each other’s savings and there was a large degree of disagreement about an art collection. They therefore agreed that certain documents would be obtained and exchanged.
This happened between the mediation sessions so that when they came to the second mediation session is was possible for them to agree an overall schedule of assets. Various offers were then exchanged in relation to the lump sum and an agreement was reached. They left the mediation process with an agreed Open Financial Statement and a Memorandum of Understanding detailing the agreement which they had reached so that they could take it to their solicitors and ask them to prepare a binding court order.
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