You and the Law – 17th August 2011

Surprisingly well-off

When I work out what I own I estimate it will come to more than the inheritance tax threshold of £325,000.  Will my beneficiaries have to pay inheritance tax on the entire amount, or just the amount which is over the £325,000 limit?  CA

Only the amount that is over the £325,000 threshold.  With the increase in property prices over the last 15 years many people are likely to find themselves, perhaps unexpectedly, in your situation.  However there may be things you can do to avoid paying inheritance tax at all, and since anything above the threshold will be taxed at 40 per cent it’s well worth investigating.  I suggest you make an appointment to see a solicitor specialising in tax and trusts.

Pay cut on the menu

I have worked for a fast-food chain for more than five years.  We are currently paid double time (as stated in the employee handbook) for working on bank holidays, but as from Christmas they are proposing to cut this to time and a half.  Can they do this?  KW

Your employers can only alter your contract in this way if they can convince an employment tribunal that drastic cutbacks are necessary in order to stay in business.  If this is not the case you should get together with your colleagues (I take it you are not members of a union) to fight this.  Unless you agree to the change then to pay you anything less than double time on bank holidays will constitute a breach of your contract and you could ask an employment tribunal to award you the extra.  However your employers will probably put you under some pressure to agree to the change in writing.  Make sure that you state your objection, preferably collectively, in writing and keep copies of correspondence.

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