Many of us have been amused by the recent reports of a French court banning a child from being called Nutella, and there are countries other than France that reserve the right to veto what they consider to be unsuitable forenames. In New Zealand, for example, the name “Princess” has been banned 28 times since 2001, and in Saudi Arabia the name “Linda” is banned, although to us in Western Europe the name seems innocuous.
In England and Wales we have fairly free rein over what to call our children and if we end up with something that we find offensive or just do not like then it’s possible to change our name using a Change of Name deed which can be enrolled with the Supreme Court.
On the birth of a child in your family, whatever his or her name, don’t forget that everyone is able to make small gifts to individuals of £250 without any Inheritance tax liability so you can give a generous birth gift without worrying about the tax implications.
And if you are a grandparent, the birth of your first grandchild, whether you like its name or not, is an ideal time to consider Inheritance tax planning, perhaps skipping a generation or setting up a trust to benefit all your grandchildren. The grandchildren don’t have to be born yet to benefit in due course under the trust, and it’s possible to retain a great deal of flexibility over who gets what and when. After all, if a child is saddled with an unsuitable name, he or she might need all the help they can get!