Domicile: Illustrative Scenarios: Mr D
C’s father, D, was born and raised in Northern Ireland, which is D’s domicile of origin. D spent most of his adult life working in various places around the world. In recent years D lived and worked in France, although he made business trips elsewhere from time to time. D died suddenly and a dispute over his will, of which C is one of the executors, has arisen.
In that will D left 40% of his net estate to his partner of the last five years, 20% to C, 20% to C’s sister and the remainder to his favourite charity. C’s two half-brothers, from whom D had been more or less estranged since his divorce from their mother, contend that D was domiciled in France at the time of his death. They argue that his will lacks essential validity under French law, as it disposes of less than 75% of his estate to his children, and claim a share of the estate. C, his sister and D’s partner assert that D was domiciled in Northern Ireland and that his will is fully valid and effective. D’s partner states that D had never formed the intention of remaining indefinitely in France; the couple had planned to retire to Italy where she would be close to her extended family.
The dispute ends in litigation, which involves various aspects of private international law, with the court deciding that D was domiciled in Northern Ireland at the date of his death. This court’s decision is not appealed further. HMRC would expect C to accept that Northern Ireland was D’s domicile for the purposes of calculating the Inheritance Tax payable on his estate.