Law Society introduces new Freehold Management Enquiries form (FME1)
The Law Society has introduced a new form, Freehold Management Enquiries (FME1). The form creates standard questions that can be asked when acting for someone who is buying a freehold that shares services with other houses. The aim of introducing FME1 is to ensure that prospective purchasers have full details of both current and future costs, and details of the parties responsible for organising the maintenance. The information required by FME1 will come from a rent charge owner, management company, managing agent or their appointed representative. Use of the form is optional.
Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act comes into force on 26 May 2019
The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill received Royal Assent on 26 March 2019, becoming the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 (CPMD 2019) and coming into force on 26 May 2019.
Section 2 of the CPMD 2019 provides for the Secretary of State to amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 by regulation so that opposite-sex couples are eligible to form a civil partnership in England and Wales (providing they are otherwise eligible to do so apart from the question of sex). The regulations must be in force by 31 December 2019.
In view of the extension of civil partnerships, further regulations may also be made to address:
- Parenthood and parental responsibility of civil partners.
- The application by a civil partner for a gender recognition certificate (Gender Recognition Act 2004), or the issuing of such a certificate, and the consequences of this for the civil partnership.
- The financial consequences of civil partnership (for example, in relation to pensions or social security).
- The treatment under English and Welsh law as civil partnerships of similar relationships formed outside the UK.
- Subject to consultation, the right to convert a marriage into a civil partnership and vice versa.
The changes follow the Supreme Court’s decision in Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for International Development (in substitution for the Home Secretary and the Education Secretary)  UKSC 32. See Family news round-up to 28 June 2018: Supreme Court rules ban on heterosexual civil partnerships is discriminatory.
The CPMD 2019 allows the Secretary of State to amend the Marriage Act 1949 and reform the way marriages are registered in England and Wales, moving from a paper-based system to registration in an electronic register (section 1). This will facilitate change to the register entry, allowing for details of both parents (not just the father) of prospective spouses to be included.
The Secretary of State is also required to prepare reports on whether the law ought to be changed to require or permit the registration of pregnancy losses that cannot be registered as still-births (Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953) and to enable or require coroners to investigate still-births (sections 3 and 4).
Probate and Private Client
HMRC confirms IHT concession for probate applications
On 27 March 2019, HMRC confirmed that, as a temporary concession, probate registries will accept applications for probate before an inheritance tax (IHT) account has been processed by HMRC. The concession will be available while the process for introducing a new probate fee structure is ongoing. An increase in probate fees is set to come into force in April 2019 although no specific date has been announced (see Legal update, Draft Order on probate fee rise to progress to House of Commons).
The probate application must include a note to say that the appropriate IHT forms will follow shortly.