Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inheritance tax

It was really rather funny, Anonymous, when the left-leaning Alexander had his Holy Mackerel! moment a few years ago, when he realised how much tax will eventually have to be paid on our estate. A major problem for our heirs – and for many people, one way and another – is that we have some seriously good furniture, inherited from my husband's family, and some moderately good pictures, bought by him, and if our heirs want to keep them, they’ll have to shell out cash.

One thing we have done is to divide the property in Strathardle, previously in my husband’s sole name, into six parts and give shares in it to me and to our four children. That happened just over seven years ago, the magic number for giving things away. So 5/6’s of that house and those broad acres (20 of them) are now completely out of his estate. I think our heirs will be more concerned about keeping that house, than the furniture here, so that’s good.

The Inland Revenue can look with suspicion on gifts made more shortly before death. I don’t know what the rules are, exactly. I do know you can’t give your house to your children and then just go on living in it: they’re on to that one. C. gave her car to our niece at some point last winter, when she knew she would never use it again. I think they’ll probably be all right with that.

Your husband is right, Shandy, about how husband and wife and civil partners can now accumulate and thus double their tax-free band. It was a recent concession. But it doesn’t help C.’s daughters. Her husband, long dead and even longer gone, contributed nothing to her wealth, such as it was. And he had remarried, anyway.


This is terrible.

Last night I finished row 51 of the mourning shawl border. Instead of starting 52, I just went on knitting the pattern for 51. It was late, I was tired, and perhaps not entirely well. The not-quite-rightness of the stitches I was knitting into revealed the error somewhere in the second pattern repeat, and I tinked back to the beginning of the round and started afresh. The tinking was a bit clumsy but I think we’re more or less all right, galloping-horse-wise.

The irony is, that if there had been any Big Holes in the rows in question, I'd have got it at once -- in the next row after a double YO, one must kb into the second loop. If I'd come across one of those, I'd have known what had happened at once.

But it fact, it was only this morning, walking across the square to get the papers, that I grasped what had really happened (solvitur ambulando, yet again) – I didn’t turn, at the end of 51.

That means that I’m now knitting st st. I have peered at it, and it’s very hard to tell. I am far enough along the first side that to tink now would be a pretty serious operation, risking further mess. What worries me is thoughts of the Wager Welt, Walker Vol. I p. 16. In back-and-forth garter stitch, one row of purl creates three rows of st st. Will that be the case here?

Once, years ago, I tried inserting a life line and found it fully as much work as knitting a round. I’ve never attempted it since.

We’re going to Strathardle today (I think). Will the peas be up? They might be! Back by Monday if not sooner. It gives me time to think about this problem.


  1. Australia did away with death duties - but found many other ways of getting money from us. (We are one of the highest taxed nations in the world and the Tax Act runs to three volumes.) How very wise of you to divide Strathardle that way!

  2. Canada does not have an inheritance tax, which is exactly how I think it should be. Inheritance tax seems like legalized robbery to me.

    I cringed when I read about the mistake in your shawl knitting. I hope it all comes out okay.

    Enjoy your time in Strathardle. I hope the weather cooperates and you are able to get all of your gardening tasks completed.

  3. Anonymous7:01 PM

    I learned long ago that when knitting or skiing, you need to stop when you are tired, before you make the mistake that breaks your leg or cripples your shawl. I hope you are able to correct it without too much anguish!

    Barbara M.

  4. Anonymous3:48 AM

    What would happen if, on the death of a parent, a child just put an oil painting or two in the trunk (boot?) of the car and toddled off with it? Does an inspector do a valuation of your property and compare it with insurance records? When my Mom died, a friend signed a piece of paper that I had typed up declaring the value of my Mom's estate (including a house and seaside property). The paper said she had inspected the personal property but she had not. When her Mom passes away, I shall do the same for her. You must have very strict laws where you live.

    Anonymous is really Elaine in Canada (in Nova Scotia under a somewhat socialist government).

  5. you might not be able to give your house away as a gift - but you might get away with "giving away" the pictures and some furniture? who is going to know about it other than the people concerned? they can stay in your house as it is and could be removed before any evaluation takes place? just a thought - but I think it's good to think and talk about this beforehand - after going through a really nasty inheritance fight some years back:(( I'd rather not receive anything before having to fight through something like that again!

    and I am the same with lifelines - putting one in is just too much effort to make it worthwhile!

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