Duchy’s visit will hopefully raise the profile of castle

Gary Rycroft.
Gary Rycroft.

A well drafted lease will allow the landlord to inspect a let property upon reasonable notice to the tenant and Buckingham Palace have given plenty of notice that the Duke of Lancaster will be popping in on the Duchy Estates in Lancashire on May 29.

Let us hope that the Queen’s visit to Lancaster will raise the profile of the Duchy’s most iconic building – the castle – and hasten a decision about its future use. I fear that at present it is a much needed project which, for some reason, is not progressing.

A couple of days before our noble Duke heads north for some fresh air she will be attending Parliament to set out the new Government’s proposed legislative programme.

Expected measures in the Queen’s Speech on May 27 include an EU Referendum. Since we joined the EEC (now EU) in 1973 we have been subject to European Law. I appreciate this is a matter of fierce political debate including issues such as our place in the world and the nature of what it is to be a sovereign state in the 21st Century, but from a purely legal perspective much of the legislation we have adopted from Europe is very beneficial to us as citizens of the European Union.

Much of our modern body of laws around financial services, employment rights, product liability, health and safely and intellectual property have come from Europe. So if we voted to leave Europe, there would be a big gap to fill.

The raising of taxes is something the European Union allows member states to makes decisions about and Inheritance Tax is another likely upcoming law reform. There was a proposal in the Conservative party manifesto to introduce an additional relief to the tax to be attached to the family home when it is transferred on death to “descendants”.

At present, the Inheritance Tax allowance per person is £325K. We await the detail in the Budget on July 8 but it is expected the additional relief would be for £175K, making a total of £500K per person. It is anticipated a married couple or civil partners would be able to transfer their allowances between each other, so the effective rate for them would be £1million.