Taking care of your family
First things first… why you need a will
Making a will is one of the most important things we can do to ensure the right people inherit your estate when you die. It is the first step in making sure your money ends up in the right hands. Many people assume their estate will pass automatically to their spouse or children, but this is not the case and failure to make a will can create difficulties for those left behind. Intestacy laws, which vary between countries, will dictate who inherits your estate and can take a long time to resolve.
Making a will is usually a simple and inexpensive process. We don’t offer a will writing service ourselves (see links at the bottom of the page), but it is something we strongly advise all our clients undertake.
Key considerations for will writing include; who should inherit your property, your money, other assets and personal possessions, how your children should be cared for, who your executors will be, any special funeral arrangements and any charitable donations you would like to make.
If you already have a will, we recommend making sure it is up to date. There are a number of life events where it makes sense to review and make changes to your will, including; buying property, moving in with someone, getting married, having children, changing jobs, divorce, illness, staring or selling your business, inheriting from a family member or friend.
Inheritance Tax Planning
If you have sizeable assets in property, savings, personal possessions and pensions, then inheritance tax planning is the initial starting point to minimise the impact of tax payable on your estate when you die, before it is passed on to your beneficiaries.
Each year the UK Government reviews the tax rates payable, along with reliefs and exemptions, as well as how it will treat gifting, so it is important to plan each year and check that your estate will pass legally and ethically to your beneficiaries, without them having to pay a large tax bill. There is no inheritance tax due if the value of your estate is below the current threshold of £325,000, or you leave everything over £325,000 to your spouse, civil partner, a charity or a community amateur sports club. However, this tax-free threshold could be even higher, depending on your circumstances.
Intergenerational planning is a more holistic approach taking into consideration the financial situation and needs of the younger generations of your family. It encompasses inheritance tax planning but its purpose is to help younger family members by passing some of your wealth on to them during your lifetime. It might include help in the following areas; starting savings for children and/or grandchildren, school/university fee planning for children and/or grandchildren, paying off university fees, helping younger generations onto the property ladder, helping with the ongoing expenses that come with starting a family.
By taking a more holistic, generational view of your family’s finances, you can have a positive impact on family members of each generation whilst you are still around.
Use of Trusts
A trust is a legal deed that ensures the asset placed inside it is treated in a specific way for both taxation and access. A trust remains outside your estate and can help in the following ways:
- Help with inheritance tax liability
- Control over who receives your money and when
- Protecting assets for the beneficiary
- Immediate access to money by trustees after your death
As there are many different types of trust, each with a different purpose and tax rules, they can be complex and require expert advice. Trusts are a very useful but often overlooked part of financial/estate planning, we strongly advise our clients to consider them as an option.
Lasting Power of Attorney
This allows you to grant somebody else the power to make decisions on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to. There are different types depending on where you live, what types of decisions you want to use it for, and when you want to use it. Some cover property and financial decisions, and others cover your health and medical wellbeing.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate taxation and trust advice, wills or will writing.
Get in touch
We always offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation over the phone or face to face (Covid restrictions allowing) to see if we can help*.
If you’d like to arrange a consultation, or have any questions at all, please get in touch with us on 0141 352 7800
or click on the ‘Contact Us Form’ link below.
*Any work you ask us to carry out as a result of this meeting will be fee based.