A pair of elderly sisters has launched an attack on inheritance tax rules in
the European Court of Human Rights, amid fears that they may have to sell their
£875,000 family home to pay IHT is either one of them dies.
According to the FT, lawyers believe that the case has little chance
of success but will focus attention on the legal rights of co-habitants, a topic
that the Law Commission is looking into.
The sisters, Joyce and Sybil Burden, are both in their eighties and are
claiming that the current set of tax rules are discriminatory and a breach of
the protection of property rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human
The sisters are unmarried and have lived in the Wiltshire home, which they
own jointly, for their entire lives. Each sister has left the home to the other
in the event of death, but fear that the survivor would be forced to sell the
property to pay inheritance tax.
Under English law only married couples or same sex partners can inherit a
home if a partner passes away.
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