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Estate Planning

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Estate planning is an important part of wealth management, no matter how much wealth you have built up. It’s the process of making a plan for how your assets will be distributed upon your death or incapacitation.

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The importance of wills for protecting your wealth

Inheritance is something that we as a nation don’t like to talk about. However, through estate planning, you can ensure that your assets are distributed to the people and organizations you care about. You can also take steps to minimize the impact of taxes and other costs. To establish the value of your estate, you need to calculate the total worth of all your assets.  Your estate is everything you own, including your home, cars, other properties, savings and investments, life insurance (if not written in an appropriate trust), furniture, jewellery, works of art, and any other personal possessions. The size of your estate does not matter – what’s important is that you have a plan in place for what will happen to your belongings after you pass away. Having a well thought out estate plan is not only beneficial for those you leave behind, but can also help to reduce your liability for Inheritance Tax. When drafting your estate plan, it is important to consider how your assets will be distributed and to whom. Doing so will help to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of.

Writing A Will

Making a Will is about more than just money – it’s also about appointing guardians to look after your children or other dependents. Almost half of all adults over 55 don’t have a Will, which means they have no say in what happens to their assets when they die. If you die without a valid Will, your assets will be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules, which are a set of laws that determine how property is divided in these cases.  This order may not reflect your wishes. If you die without leaving a Will, your spouse or registered civil partner may not inherit the whole of your estate. Remember: life and circumstances change over time, and your Will should reflect those changes – so keep it updated.

MAKE A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY

People in the UK are increasingly using legal instruments to ensure that their affairs are taken care of if they become unable to manage them themselves. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to appoint someone to deal with your property, finances and health and welfare if you lose mental capacity.

PLAN FOR INHERITANCE TAX

IHT is calculated based on the value of the property, money and possessions of someone who has died. If the total value of their assets exceeds £325,000, or £650,000 if they’re married or widowed, IHT is payable. If you plan ahead, it is usually possible to pass on more of your wealth to your chosen beneficiaries and to pay less IHT. Since April 2017, an additional main residence nil-rate band allowance was phased in. It is currently worth £150,000, but it will rise to £175,000 per person by April this year.  The new allowance will not benefit everyone, as it can only be used if you are passing your home to your children, grandchildren or any other lineal descendant. If you don’t have any direct descendants, you won’t qualify for the allowance. The headline rate of IHT is 40%, though there are various exemptions, allowances and reliefs that mean that the effective rate paid on estates is usually lower. Those leaving some of their estate to registered charities can qualify for a reduced headline rate of 36% on the part of the estate they leave to family and friends.

GIFT ASSETS WHILE YOU’RE ALIVE

One important thing to keep in mind when creating an estate plan is that the process is not only about distributing your assets when you die. It is also about analyzing your finances now and making the most of your assets while you are still alive. By giving assets to younger generations while you are still alive, you could enjoy seeing the assets put to good use, while also reducing your IHT bill.

IHT-EXEMPT ASSETS

There are certain asset classes that are exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT). These exemptions typically come from government initiatives designed to protect farms and businesses from large IHT bills that could force the sale of assets when they are passed down to the next generation. Business relief (BR) provides IHT protection for business owners on their business assets. Ownership of shares in an unlisted company is included in this definition. Additionally, it offers partial relief for those who own the majority rights in assets such as land, buildings, business machinery or have them held in a trust.

LIFE INSURANCE WITHIN A TRUST

A life insurance policy in trust is a legal arrangement that keep the pay-out from a life insurance policy separate from the estate after the policy holder dies. This ring-fencing of the proceeds from a life insurance policy by putting it in a trust can protect it from inheritance tax. The proceeds of the trust are typically overseen by a trustee or trustees whom the policy holder appoints. These proceeds go to the people chosen by the policy holder, known as beneficiaries. The trustee or trustees are responsible for making sure the money goes to the intended beneficiaries after the policy holder passes away.

KEEP WEALTH WITHIN A PENSION

When you die, your pension funds may be inherited by your loved ones. But who inherits, and how much, is governed by complex rules. Money left in your pensions can be passed on to anyone you choose more tax-efficiently than ever, depending on the type of pension you have, by you nominating to whom you would like to leave your pension savings (your Will won’t do this for you) and your age when you die, before or after the age of 75. Your pension is normally free of IHT, unlike many other investments. It is not part of your taxable estate.  Pensions can be a great way to pass down wealth to future generations, and keeping the pension money within the fund can be a tax-efficient way to do estate planning. This is because the investment returns are free from inheritance tax, and withdrawals by some beneficiaries may also be free from income tax. However, it’s important to remember that any money you take out of your pension becomes part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes. This includes your tax-free cash allowance if you don’t spend it all. Also, older-style pensions may be included in your estate for inheritance tax.

MAKE SURE WEALTH STAYS IN THE RIGHT HANDS

Estate planning can be a complex process, and it’s subject to change. We can tailor a plan that reflects your priorities and particular circumstances. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

“Estate Planning is important and everlasting gift you can give your family”

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Using Our Service

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01

Free initial discussion

At this stage, there is no commitment required and the chat is informal. It is simply to gauge whether you would benefit from advice. There is no downside to giving us a call, and we can be reached at 074341 53523

02

Getting to know you

If you feel that the advice and fees are right for you, we will take a deeper look at your circumstances and goals. Our advisers will then keep in touch while carrying out research and analysis.

03

Discuss recommendations

Our advisers will review your report and recommendations with you in detail. Once you’re satisfied with the plan, our team will implement it for you.

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