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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Life Policies: Married Women’s Property Act policies: introduction

Policies effected under S11 Married Women’s Property Act (MWPA) 1882 create trusts only in favour of the spouse or civil partner (by virtue of s.71 Civil Partnership Act 2004) (IHTM11032) and children of the assured.

Originally policies effected under S2 Married Women’s Policies of Assurance (Scotland) Act 1880 created trusts only in favour of the wife and children of the assured, but under the MWPA (Scotland) (Amendment) Act 1980 it is now possible for either spouse or civil partner (by virtue of s.71 Civil Partnership Act 2004) to effect a policy under Section 2 of the 1880 Act for the other.

In each case ‘children’ includes children adopted under an Adoption Order made under para 3 Sch 1 (England) and para 1 Sch 2 (Scotland) Children Act 1975 and illegitimate children if the policy was effected on or after 1 January 1970.

In general any options the assured has under the policy will only be exercisable for the benefit of the trust. So if the policy is surrendered the trust will attach to the proceeds - see Re Equitable Life Assurance Society of United States v Mitchell (1911) 27 TLR 213 and Re Fleetwood’s Policy [1926] I Ch 48.