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This was typed in by Matt Finney, whose webpage appears to have been removed from the web.
Extract taken from the Tom Holt Book My Hero. The real reason King Lear acted like such a fool when splitting up his kingdom.
Coincidentally, in a dimension long ago and far away, the senior partner of Messrs Shark, Shark and Shark, a firm of lawyers with a very specialised but extremely lucrative practice, was advising a client.
`Now then,' said Mr Shark. `I don't suppose you've given any real thought to constructive inheritance tax planning. Well, have you?'
King Lear bit his lip. `Now you mention it,' replied, `I can't say I have.'
Mr Shark shook his head sadly. `It's about time you did, don't you think? What I would advise you to do is to gift over your kingdom to your two eldest daughters. Then, provided you survive the gift by seven years, there'll be no tax to pay whatsoever.'
King Lear rubbed his chin thoughtfully. `Sounds like a good idea, then. Only well, it's a bit drastic, isn't it? Just sort of giving it to them like that with no strings attached. What if....'
Mr Shark frowned. `Can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, now can we? I mean, do you want to be stuck with a massive great tax bill?'
`No, no, of course not. But couldn't I keep a little something back? A hundred knights, say, something like the?'
Mr Shark sighed. `Sorry,' he said, `but that would constitute a gift with reservation, which is caught by the anti-avoidance provisions and that would render the whole scheme void. And if a thing's worth doing-'
`Yes, you're right, I suppose. But why only my two eldest daughters? Isn't that a bit rough on the youngest? She's a good kid and-'
`True,' interrupted Mr Shark wearily, `but she's married to the King of France, isn't she? Which makes her non-UK residents, and the statutory provisions about taxation of offshore interests would just make a mockery of the whole scheme. You do see that, don't you?'
`Yes. Yes. If you say so, I suppose....'
`Right, I'll get on with drawing up the papers and I'll let you know when they're ready. Thanks for dropping in. Bye.'
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