Moves to change sibling inheritance rules

Cohabiting siblings in Northern Ireland may soon receive the same rights as married and civil partnership couples regarding inheritance tax.

An amendment has been proposed to the finance bill by Labour MP and former minister Frank Field.

Under the plans, siblings who had lived together for ten years or more would enjoy the same rights as legally-joined couples.

The amendment was prompted by the case of Joyce and Sybil Burden, aged 90 and 82, who have lived together in a house they jointly own for all of their lives.

Under existing law, whichever sister survives the other will be liable to pay 40 per cent of the value of the house (and any other assets) over the £312,000 inheritance tax threshold.

The sisters mounted a case against their exclusion from the rules which protect married and civil partnership couples but lost their case at the appeal court of the European court of human rights in April.

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