Query on life interest ending

I have an estate where I am reporting multiple gifts within 7 years of D’s death. IHT403 asks whether D was entitled to benefit from any assets held in trust or in a settlement which, during their lifetime, came to an end. I have ticked yes for the reasons outlined below.

D received an IPDI in her late husband’s residuary estate. He died in 2015. In 2016 (within 7 years of D’s death) the Trustees appointed the bulk of the trust, except H’s share of the property, to D outright. It is my understanding that section 53 of the IHT Act applies to exclude this from any tax charge on the basis that D was the life tenant and became absolutely entitled to the trust assets appointed to her.

My query is whether section 144 applies to the appointment. My understanding is that it does not apply as there was a subsisting interest in possession. However, the fact that it just ended up with D who is the spouse makes me wonder whether in fact there would be some read back provision applied to the appointment?

Many thanks

IHTA 1984 s144(1) provides that the section does not apply where, prior to any appointment of any trust property, an interest in possession (eg an IPDI) subsisted in that property which appears to be the case here.

Malcolm Finney