Simply put, estate planning is about making sure your wishes are followed and minimising the amount of taxes due on your estate allowing you to pass your assets on to the beneficiaries that you choose to receive them, either during your lifetime or on your death.
Estate planning is often considered as being a very complex area of financial planning as it can involve such areas as Inheritance Tax (IHT) mitigation or Long Term Care (LTC) funding. In some cases, simply arranging to draft a Will can take care of your estate planning needs but for others, it can be more complicated to help you achieve your goals, particularly if your estate is likely to exceed statutory thresholds.
Rises in property values and increased personal wealth mean that many more people own assets that are currently at, or will rise to in the future, a level that is well above the Nil Rate Band (commonly referred to as the “NRB”). This means that, without careful estate planning, your family and beneficiaries could be faced with a very large tax liability that they were not expecting.
At Rowleys, we have extensive experience of advising clients on a wide ranging portfolio of generic and specialist financial services. This puts us in the unique position of having a far greater insight into your financial affairs, meaning we are able to recognise any potential pitfalls when planning for your future and we know what opportunities there are for tax efficiencies when considering the division of your assets.
At Rowleys, we have also developed a detailed financial memorandum that enables you to record all of your most confidential information in one place. The completed document can be stored with your Will or in another secure place of your choosing and notified to your Executors. It includes all of the details necessary to access your finances, investments, pensions, even your email accounts and sets out the passwords, account numbers, pin numbers and memorable information that may be required to fully administrate your estate with the minimum fuss.
Putting your savings, investments, life policies or assets into a trust as part of a well thought out estate plan can play an important part in reducing the inheritance tax liability, as well as ensuring your assets are distributed in the way you intended.
A trust is a legal entity that has control over assets for the benefit of one or more people and there are different types of trust which can be set up according to what you are hoping to achieve
When you set up a trust, you will appoint one or more trustee to be responsible for the assets under its control. You will also select one or more beneficiaries who will receive the assets from the trust at the time you want them to and in the way you have specified. This is particularly useful if your beneficiaries are minors.
As trusts usually avoid probate, the beneficiaries may gain access to these assets more quickly than they might if they were transferred using a Will. This can save time and court fees and, in the case of an irrecoverable trust, it may not be considered as part of the taxable estate, potentially reducing the inheritance tax liabilities. As Probate is a matter of public record, a trust may allow assets to pass outside of probate so they remain private.
Anyone could lose “capacity” through an illness or accident. If you were no longer able to make decisions for yourself, who would you want to do it for you? An LPA is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to deal with a variety of matters. Whilst most people usually appoint a close friend or family member to deal with their health and welfare concerns, it can be prudent to appoint a professional to make decisions about your property and financial matters. Your appointed Attorney can make decisions on your behalf, acting in your best interests and in compliance with strict legislation. If you’d like to take steps to safeguard your future, just ask us for more details.
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