Legacy Wills blog

Reviewing Your Plan For The Inheritance Tax

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Each new year brings all of us the opportunity to examine our future plans for what will be necessary for our future needs in financial and wealth planning.  As we go over our assets and liabilities, we need to be aware of the Inheritance Tax (IHT), and what it might mean to our beneficiaries and our estate.

The IHT has had many changes and modifications over the past several years, and many families are unaware of the potential benefits that they can receive by conducting some simple financial planning for the IHT.  By reviewing your current and potential future financial situation, even families with moderate to high levels of wealth in savings, pensions, and land ownership could protect themselves from a big IHT hit.

From the 2015 to 2021, the ordinary nil rate band will hold steady at £325,000.  In addition to this rate, the potential passing of a family home has been affected by rule changes in the Summer Budget of last year.  The new changes created a situation where property that at any time in the life of the deceased was a primary residence will be subject to a new residence nil rate band.  The band will be £100,000 for deaths occurring after 5 April 2017, and the band increases to £175,000 for deaths occurring after 5 April 2020.

If any potential tax shelters are unused, then they will be available for use by the spouse or civil partner resulting in the potential value of IHT exemptions £1m from 6 April 2020 for a couple.  A major drawback is that estates with an assessed value in excess of £2.2m will not be eligible for any benefits under the new rule changes.  The full 40% liability of the IHT will be assessed on these estates.

Reduce Your IHT

By committing to several smaller steps over a wide range of years, you can improve your results and liabilities in regards to the IHT tax that will be paid upon your death.  One way to help lessen the eventual tax burden is to make sure that every available allowance, exemption and relief is being used.  These are placed in the tax code for your benefit, so make sure you use them.

Gifting

One way to lessen your eventual IHT burden is to gift your assets over your lifetime.  After seven years, these gifts will no longer be eligible to be taxed under the guidelines of the IHT if there is no benefit gained from the gift of assets.

Allowances

There are several other forms of gifting that have IHT benefits.  One is the annual gift exemption which stands at £3,000.  If no gifts were made in the previous year, then the allowance is £6,000.  One kind of gift that can be eligible for use as an allowance is the small gift of £250 per beneficiary.  Another is the marriage gift where you can give children up to £5,000, grandchildren £2,500, and £1,000 to anyone else getting married.  If you look, there are many different tax allowances that can be found.

Using Surplus Income

Do you have extra income just lying around, and you don’t know what to do with it?  There is a way to make gifts out this additional income, and you can avoid the IHT as these gifts are not subject to taxation even if you pass away within seven years.

Inheritance Tax and Gifts

With the Prime Minister making changes to estate taxation, the implications of the Inheritance Tax are on most peoples’ minds.  The government estimates that receipts focused on IHT will increase from £4.6bn in recent years to £5.6bn in 2020-2021.  It is estimated however from research that only 14% of taxable persons are aware of correct IHT thresholds that affect all of us.

According to Octopus CEO, Simon Rogerson, 21% of households with a family income over £50,000 are spending to reduce their IHT tax liability, and 4% of households over the age of 60 reduce their IHT liability through using investments that are shelters from IHT.  Despite all of the talk about IHT, very few people make future financial plans with IHT in mind.

According to the HMRC, the Inheritance Tax is used when a person’s estate is worth more than £325,000 at the time of death.  This rate is for the years 2016/2017 with the estate consisting of a person’s property, money, investments, and possessions.  Estates valued over £325,000 are taxed 40% in accordance with IHT.  If 10% or more of the estate is left to charity, then the IHT rate is reduced to 36% of the estate’s value.

If married and civil partners live permanently in the UK, then they have the option to transfer funds tax free to each other.  This means that when one dies, then the allowance for the remaining spouse or partner can double to £650,000.  This increase would allow most to escape the IHT entirely.

Other ways to limit or avoid the IHT completely is through the use of tax reliefs such as the agriculture relief, a heritage asset, or the woodland relief.  The use of any of these reliefs can be verified through contacting the HMRC.

Military service can also be a tax relief for the deceased’s estate.  If the death occurred while on active service or active service contributed to the death of the person in question, then the estate of the deceased is exempt from IHT as well.

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Find Out How To Lessen Your Tax Bill

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Due to the number of ways you can mitigate your tax burden the inheritance tax is an easy tax to avoid.  One of the best ways is the nil rate band which allows you to leave up to £500,000 to each person without a tax penalty.

For those looking to take care of their families and heirs making use of tax reliefs is acceptable practice in addition to the use of trusts.  Investors looking to make more money can also use EISs and a variety of investment tools for their finances.

The Inheritance Tax (IHT) has become a heavily debated issue in recent years as property, the main asset of many people has begun to gain in value at a rapid pace in recent years.  In the creation of every political budget, pressure from every Budget and Autumn Statement look to make changes to the nil rate band sitting at £325,000 since 2010 as homes and other types of properties were devalued.  As the Inheritance Tax was changed, many people saw it as a way to secure their wealth.

With the benefits of the IHT, financial planners are finding other means to help with estate planning.  One way to help financial planning is to explore using trusts for life insurance.  The idea here is that when the person passes away, the months an estate can be in probate are eliminated and the intended inheritors can access the estate funds right away.  Other ways that the IHT can be avoided is through placing funds in many different kinds of investments that are subject to business property relief which lessens the amount available to IHT.

Finally, look to making multiple gifts to beneficiaries during your lifetime to reduce impact from the IHT.  The only catch here is that if you pass away within seven years of making the gift, there is potential to be subject to the IHT tax liability.

 

For more information or to discuss your needs, please call John Ireland now

on 0208 547 2583 or email, john@legacy-wills.co.uk

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Planning For The Inheritance Tax

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There are many ways to limit the tax implications from the Inheritance Tax (IHT).  This article will explore the means through which the tax can be minimized or even avoided all together.  Children, charity and tax shelters are all viable means to limit the IHT on your will.  No one wants to give 40% of what they worked their entire lives for away in taxes.  Learn what you can do now to limit the tax bill later.

Planning for the IHT

At current rates, anyone worth more than £325,000 will be subject to IHT as of the 2017/2018 fiscal years.  This means that if you own a house and have even a limited savings, life assurances, and other assets, then there is a good chance your estate will be vulnerable to the IHT.   Even gifts that you make during your lifetime might be liable if they were made within seven years of your passing.

 

What is the IHT?

When a person living in the UK passes away, their personal wealth is subject to the IHT in conjunction with all of the gifts and bequests that the individual made in the seven years prior to their death.  Even certain people not living in the UK can be taxed by the IHT as if they were living here.  The individual’s estate can be taxed up to 40%, but there is minimal relief due to a sliding scale for any gift made between 3 and seven years of death.

What You Need to Know About IHT

Before you can begin to understand the IHT, you need to know the current state of your assets and how they might change in the future.  You need to know your own finances and your overall financial security.  Finally, you need to know or have an idea of the future needs of your family or your intended beneficiary.

Your Finances and Security

As you assess your current finances, you need to make sure that you and any spouse are taken care of and have plenty of assets.  This need of assets will become even more important as you enter the retirement phase of life.  You should not be worrying about giving away assets if you are going to need them.

The Needs of My Family

Your family is very important to you if you are looking into how to leave them the most money and assets possible, but how much control do your kids need of finances that might be transferred to them?  In the chance you die first, you should consider how much money to leave to a spouse so they are taken care of.   All of these considerations and more would be covered by a proper Will and Testament that will be executed upon your death.  Even the assets of your parents and elderly family members need to be considered in your financial planning.

Will the IHT Impact My Business?

If you control a business and own business related assets, then you can expect that a business property relief between 50 – 100% can be utilized.  Agricultural assets that are very similar to the relief expected for another business.

Can You Reduce Your IHT Liability?

In short, yes, you can reduce the IHT Liability.  However, there are many different ways this can be accomplished.  First, keep in mind that smaller gifts made during your lifetime can be completely exempt.  Second, assets given to your spouse and civil partner can potentially avoid the IHT liability.  Annual gifts up to £3,000 for the 2017/2018 Fiscal Years can be exempted as well as an allowance for a gift up to £250 from the previous year if it was not claimed in the gift year.

For more information or to discuss your needs, please call John Ireland now

on 0208 547 2583 or email, john@legacy-wills.co.uk

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Top Tax Tips For Budgets And Bills From The Government

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The country’s tax laws are constantly changing as the Autumn Statements were modified, and the December Statement is expecting to be enhanced as well.  Upon the recommendations of the Chartered Institute of Taxation in conjunction with the Institute for Government and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a Better Budgets report was made public earlier this year with specific ideas for the better performance of Government.

There were ten recommendations in all.  The first was to adhere to a single principal fiscal event while reducing the number of additional Budget measures.  This recommendation stressed fiscal solvency through sticking to an initial Budget and prevent overspending through the limiting/eliminating additions to the Budget through the year.

Second, there is a necessity to define the principles and priorities of tax policy in a clear and manner.  Creating early statements for the priorities and approaches to the tax system would give Parliament the framework to fiscally responsibility.

Third would be to create a Corporate Tax Road Map model, which were outlined in the Better Budgets report and could be applied across the tax system.  The fourth would be to begin tax consultations earlier in the taxation process to prevent time and money being wasted with consultations that occur when the tax process is in motion and key decisions have been made and implemented.   A fifth idea would be to find more active approaches to consultations in which people being consulted are found before the consultation was necessary and respondents could be polled for their opinions giving valuable feedback.

The sixth recommendation would be to poll the public in order to see where future reforms might be initiated.  Through conducting external reviews via independent means, the policy making process could be improved using more public participation.  The basis for the seventh recommendation is to have the Treasury and HMRC address the potential gaps in the perceived capability of making tax policy.  Allowing insiders who can develop a tax expertise in HMT and policy expertise in HMRC needs to be supported.

The eighth recommendation supports the improvement of internal processes in order to modify the making of tax and Budget policy.  The use of small Budget Cabinet Committees will improve making decisions through a collective means resulting in expert challenges presenting issues and suggesting solutions.  Ninth, the ability of Parliament and the public to review and criticize tax proposals needs to be improved.  The Government needs to provide both Parliament and the public clear documentation of decision-making in order to enhance transparency.  Parliamentary committees working on taxes need to have better working relationships with access to more information from tax experts.

Finally, all tax measures need to be institutionalized and have the ability to be evaluated through post-legislative review.  These reviews need to be efficient and on a regular basis to see if these measures are achieving their goals within proper means.  More data needs to be available to Parliament so that the legislative body can hold the government accountable if necessary.

For more information or to discuss your needs, please call John Ireland now

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Tax Breaks That Are Beneficial For The Married Couple

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Newly passed tax allowances have been missed by married couples.  According to the Freedom of Information Bureau the insurer Royal London stated that over £1.3bn in allowances remain unclaimed by eligible married couples.

In 2015, a new Marriage Allowance was initiated to help married couples to allow any unused tax-free allowances to be transferred to married spouses who are higher earners.  Additional benefits of the allowance were that it was made available to people in civil unions and up to 10% of an unused allowance for an individual could be transferred.

For 2017 alone, this increased access to tax savings would save couples upwards of £230.  Couples who would have used the credit since it’s inception every year would have earned an additional £662 in total tax savings.

For eligible couples, the Marriage Allowance transfers up to £1,150 of a personal allowance to a husband, wife or civil partner as long as they are the higher earner.  This allowance can reduce a tax burden by £230 in the tax year.  The lower earner must earn £11,500 or less, and any claim can be retroactively backdated to 2015.  The couple’s higher earner must be between £11,500 and £45,000 annually.  Couples who receive a pension and living abroad receiving a personal allowance are also eligible.

Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London stated, “The Government has created a tax break specifically designed to benefit married couples and civil partners, but the take-up of the new allowance is shocklingly low

“Even in the third year of operation, around two million couples who could benefit from the marriage allowance are not doing so.  When family finances are so tight, I would encourage every married couple to check whether they might be eligible, including for the last two years, as they could qualify.”

In 2015, the HMRC projected that nearly 4.2 million couples would benefit from the new tax allowance.  However, FOI has provided data that only 2.2 million couples have claimed the allowance to date.  FOI findings were that in 2015 only 644,916 couples claimed the allowance.  Nearly 1.2 million allowances were used in 2016, and just over 2.2 million in 2017.

While more and more couples used the tax allowance every year, this result means that two million couples are still eligible, but they have not yet claimed the allowance.  If these two million couples would retroactively apply for the allowance of £662 per couple then the total tax savings from allowance use would be £1.3bn.

For more information or to discuss your needs, please call John Ireland now

on 0208 547 2583 or email, john@legacy-wills.co.uk

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The Business Trust – A Guide

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The Business Trust arrangement allows full advantage of 100% Business Property Relief (BPR) to be taken. It can also be used where assets qualify for 100% Agricultural Property Relief (APR)

BPR and APR are extremely valuable relief’s for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes in that most cases the shares or interest in a business will qualify for 100% relief from IHT without any upper limit. This means that businesses can be left to future generations without any IHT liability arising.

Unfortunately in many cases these generous gifts can be wasted since on first death the shares or interest in the business is frequently left to a surviving spouse. Whilst this may not cause a problem where the spouse intends to retain an interest, where the intention is to sell, an IHT liability can arise on the death of the spouse. The Trust is therefore particularly useful if a there is a business protection arrangement in place whereby the remaining shareholders or partners are likely to buy the shares or interest.

Take the following example:

Andy, Bob & Charlie are all equal shareholders in an unquoted company worth £750,000. To provide a smooth buyout for the company’s shares they have each taken out life assurance policies for £250,000 on their own lives and placed each policy under a Flexible Business Trust for their co-shareholders.

They have then entered into Cross Option Agreements which state that the surviving shareholders have the option to purchase the shares in the business from the personal representatives if one of the shareholders dies. Similarly the personal representatives have the option to sell the shares to the other shareholders. As the business is a trading company and the shares have been held for at least two years, it is anticipated that 100% BPR will apply. All the shareholders are married with children and their Wills currently leave all their assets to their surviving spouses.

1. Andy dies first and the proceeds from his policy pay out to Bob & Charlie.

2. Bob & Charlie use these proceeds to buy the shares from Andy’s estate.

3. Andy’s personal representatives then pass the cash received to his widow, Denise.

4. No IHT applies due to the spousal exemption.

5. However, when Denise dies, the proceeds from the sale of the shares are part of her estate.

6. IHT liability on second death therefore is £250,000 x 40% i.e. £100,000, assuming the nil rate band has been used by other assets.

How can the Business Trust help?

Andy could have established a Business Trust in his Will and nominated that the shares in the business should be held in trust for his wife/children. The IHT liability on second death will be as follows;

1. Andy dies first, the shares he owns pass into a Business Trust for his beneficiaries and the proceeds from his policy pay out to Bob & Charlie as before.

2. Bob & Charlie use the proceeds to buy the shares from Andy’s beneficiaries Business Trust .

3. The personal representatives then pass the cash received to the trustees of the Business Trust to hold on Trust for the children of the named beneficiaries.

4. No IHT applies on the transfer to the Trust due to the availability of 100% BPR at the time of Andy’s death.

5. The Trustees can use their discretion to pay or lend funds to Denise, Andy’s widow.

6. Since the value of the Trust fund will not be treated as part of the Denise’s estate, then on her death, the IHT liability on the proceeds from the sale of the shares is nil. Any loans made to her from the Trust will reduce the value of her own estate.

What is the IHT position on Andy’s death?

Assuming that under the Business Trust Andy’s children are entitled to income from the Trust fund (and therefore have the interest in possession) on Andy’s death, the transfer will be treated as having been made from Andy to his children. Although this potentially incurs IHT, no charge arises where full 100% Business Property Relief is available.

How are Trust assets used for the benefit of Andy’s widow?

Subsequently, as and when Denise requires cash from the Trust, the Trustees, and Denise can be a Trustee, can make irrevocable appointments of capital to herself and pay the necessary cash.

Alternatively, it may be more IHT efficient for the Trustees to make loans to Denise. These can be interest free if interest is charged on the loan it will be Trust income payable to Andy’s children and liable to income tax at personal rates.

For more information or to discuss your needs, please call John Ireland now

on 0208 547 2583 or email, john@legacy-wills.co.uk

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The importance Of Wills For Co-habiting Couples

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If you are in a cohabitation relationship and you have not made a Will, you run the risk of leaving your partner in a very difficult position in the event of your death. Fortunately, the solution is straightforward as making a Will can solve these problems.

Recent research indicates that the majority of cohabitants believe that they will have similar inheritance rights to those of married couples. This is not correct. There is also a common belief that common law marriage exists, but again this is not the case.

What is the position for unmarried couples?

The legal position is that unmarried couples have no right to automatically inherit assets from a deceased partner. On death, property and assets are distributed either according to the terms of a Will or in the absence of a Will, the laws of intestacy. The laws of intestacy will benefit a spouse or civil partner, children and other family members. They will not automatically benefit a co-habiting partner and you may have to go to court to benefit from the estate. A Law Commission report into cohabitation rejected a reform of the intestacy laws to include an automatic right for co-habitees to inherit leaving a claim through the courts as the only option. In the absence of a change in the law, therefore, the onus is on a cohabiting couple to make Wills that set out exactly how they would each wish their property and assets to be dealt with in the event of their death.

Children of Cohabiting Couples

The myth of common law marriage also impacts on children of the relationship and who shall have care of them in the event of their parent’s death. The legal position of a minor child of unmarried parents may in certain circumstances be different from the legal position of the child with married parents. Parents who are married when their child is born both acquire parental responsibility for their child. Parental Responsibility (‘PR’) enables the parents either together or separately, to make important decisions about the child such as educational needs or medical treatments. Where the parents of a child are unmarried at the time of the child’s birth only the mother will automatically have parental responsibility. The child’s father may have to enter into a formal Agreement with the child’s mother that is then registered with the court or he will need to obtain a formal PR Order. The child’s father will acquire PR if he marries the child’s mother or if he is registered on the birth certificate, where the child was born after the 1st December 2003. In all cases, but particularly where there is only one parent with PR, it is very important that consideration is given to who shall acquire PR and care for the child on your death. If this issue is not addressed by appointing a guardian in your Will then it may well be left for the court to make the decision. The appointment of a guardian will transfer PR to the person of your choice.

Property Ownership for Cohabiting Couples

Property ownership can cause additional concerns as to whether the property should be held as joint tenants or tenants in common. If you have contributed differing amounts of money to the purchase or to improvements you may want to hold the property as tenants in common to reflect a differing share. If you have not made a Will your share will not pass to your partner and they may end up owning the property with your relatives. Without a Will you will also be unable to guarantee that your children maybe from an earlier relationship actually retain their home or certainly your monetary interest in it.

A Will is the Answer

Making a Will resolves the uncertainty that a cohabiting partner could face in the event of your death. It is a simple step that you can take to ensure that, at a time when they are grieving for you, they will not have to endure the additional worry of not having access to money, potentially losing the roof over their head and

having to approach the court to secure care of your children. Making a Will is normally straightforward and is likely to cost less than you might think. An experienced lawyer will ask you for details of your circumstances, discuss your wishes and prepare a Will for checking with you. If you wish, we can also provide tax advice.

To find out more information visit www.legacy-wills.co.uk

10 Good Reasons Why You Should Make A Will

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Amazingly over 70% of people do not have an accurate and up to date Will. Make sure that you are not one of them – or you risk dying intestate (in other words without indicating who should inherit your property). This is likely to result in a very uncertain future for your friends, family and even business partners. Making a Will is common sense and is probably less expensive than you might imagine – we offer a value for money fixed price for Wills. The consequences of having no Will can be significant and include;

1. You have no control over what happens to your property – instead the intestacy rules will apply which set out in law which family members should inherit your property and in which proportion.

2. There may be disagreements as to how your assets are divided between your loved ones. Sadly it is increasingly common for relatives to take legal action amongst themselves in arguing over family property. Don’t leave any uncertainty – make your wishes crystal clear.

3. Your family might become involved in unnecessary costs or delay – the financial cost alone of contesting a Will can be significant – amounting to many tens of thousands of pounds

4. You do not choose who looks after any young children – if you do have youngsters, it is much better to clearly indicate in your Will who you would like to care for them you should die.

5. If you were cohabiting without being married, your partner will have no automatic right to any of your property. Worse still they could even be evicted from your home.

6. There may be insufficient money left to comfortably provide for your partner or spouse.

7. Your family home might need to be sold to distribute your estate unless you make the position clear. This could even leave your spouse homeless.

8. There is a risk that your estate may have to pay more tax unnecessarily. Those who don’t consider tax planning as an essential part of making a Will may find that they run the risk of their estate having to pay significant amounts of unnecessary tax – leaving less to distribute amongst family and friends.

9. You could find that your business partners are left without protection which could result in a forced sale of your business.

10. Making a Will is common sense and is probably less expensive than you might imagine. To maximize your peace of mind, call us on 0208 547 2583 regarding our value for money fixed prices Wills

TEL: 020 8547 2583 E-MAIL: enquiries@legacy-wills.co.uk

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The LEGACY Fast Facts Guide About Trusts

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Trusts can;

Allow your beneficiaries to receive your gift without delay.

Allow you to choose you want to benefit

Allow you to change who should benefit

But They Don’t;

Mean you give up control of your assets

Have to be expensive or difficult to set up with help from your adviser

Could you use a Trust?

A Trust is a way of choosing who will receive the benefit of certain assets, without giving your beneficiaries full and immediate control over them. A Trust can also be created by your Will.

Who Is Involved In Setting Up a Trust?

You, as the person creating the Trust, are known as the Settlor or Donor. The people who also manage the Trust are known as the Trustees.

In most cases, it’s necessary to have at least two individual Trustees in place all the time and you must therefore choose additional Trustees to administer the Trust.

These people may need to deal with the Trust if you die so you need to choose them carefully. The beneficiaries are the people who you want to benefit from the Trust. If the Trustees break the terms of the Trust, the beneficiaries may take legal action against them. The beneficiaries are identified in the Trust document.

What Are The Benefits?

Setting up a Trust can be easier than you think and can provide you and your family with real financial benefits.

Can I Change My Beneficiaries?

The Finance Act of 2006 introduced significant changes affecting the way Trusts are treated for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes. Most of the Trusts we offer are Discretionary Trusts. This means the Trustees have the power to choose which of the discretionary beneficiaries to pay the Trust fund or gift to and in what shares.

With a Discretionary Trust, the Trustees can appoint benefits to anyone included as a discretionary beneficiary. The Trustees have a Power of Appointment which means they can appoint funds to anyone who falls within the definition of discretionary beneficiaries within the Trust.

The donor can also prepare a Letter of Wishes to guide the Trustees as to which discretionary beneficiaries they’d like to receive the benefits.

The Letter of Wishes isn’t binding on the Trustees, so it’s important that the Trustees are chosen carefully.

Who Do I Appoint As Additional Trustee(s)?

As the word suggests, a Trustee should be someone you trust. For example, your partner, spouse, civil partner, another family member, a close friend. Trustees must be over 18 (16 in Scotland), mentally able and mustn’t be bankrupt. Trustees should sign the Trust form to acknowledgement their appointment. In accepting their appointment Trustees must carry out certain obligations and duties.

Inheritance Tax is charged at 40% on your estate on anything above the Nil Rate Band.

£5.1 billion is the amount of Inheritance Tax receipts in the tax year 2016 /17, an increase on £4.6 billion in 15/16.

Trustees Responsibilities

Trustees must keep records, including Trust accounts, as they may need to prove they are managing any Trust funds properly. For example, records must be kept of any changes made to the investments in the Trust fund and any money paid or loaned to a beneficiary. We also recommend that proof is kept for any professional advice on investments etc.

What Other Powers Do Trustees Have?

The law gives Trustees some powers. These include;

· The power to use income from the Trust for the education of maintenance of a beneficiary who is under the age of 18

· The power to give capital give capital to a beneficiary before they become entitled to demand it

· The power to sell Trust property

· The power to give receipts

· The power to insure Trust property

Other more specific powers may be set out in the Trust form. The range of powers in each Trust can vary depending on the aims of the Trust. Trustees should make themselves familiar with the powers they have.

The standard range gives the following powers;

· The power to exercise any option within any plan for life insurance

· The power to pay benefits to the parent or Guardian to any beneficiary who is not yet 18

· The power to lend money to any of the beneficiaries

· The power to borrow using the Trust fund as security

Can I Change My Trustees?

The power of appointing or removing Trustees belongs to the Donor(s) while alive. If the donor wishes to remove a Trustee and that person is unwilling to sign the form, then the Donor can remove that person by sending a notice of removal in writing to the Trustees at the last known or usual address.

The Trustees being removed must then sign the necessary documentation to complete their removal. If the Trustee isn’t available to sign the documentation the donor will need their own legal advice in order to remove them. If a Trustees retires or is replaced, a new Trustee may need to be appointed.

267,549 estate were issued a Grant of Representation in 2013/14, which accounts for about 47% of all deaths in that year. Source: HM Revenue & Customs 2016

Getting The Money When It’s Needed Most

If an asset isn’t under Trust, your personal representatives (the people you have asked to deal with your estate after you die) will need to get the appropriate ‘Grant of Representation’ before they can deal with the asset. This process is known as ‘Probate’ in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or ‘Confirmation’ in Scotland.

Probate is the legal process of confirming who can deal with the estate of a person who has died before the assets of the estate can be distributed according to the terms of their Will. If someone dies without leaving a Will, they’re said to have died ‘Intestate’. Their estate will be divided according to the rules known as the ‘Laws of Intestacy’.

This can be a long process and can take several months. In the meantime, your family could be suffering financial hardship following your death.

By placing insurance policies in Trust, the need for probate will be avoided as long as there’s one surviving Trustee when you die. This is because the Trustees are the legal owners of the plan, and can deal with the Trust property immediately, making sure your chosen beneficiaries don’t suffer financially after you die.

One of the most common reasons for taking out a protection plan is to provide for your family after you die. By writing the plan in Trust, you can make sure that the proceeds of the plan are paid to them without delay.

Do I Have To Take Out A New Plan To Put It In Trust Or Can I Use An Existing One?

The majority of new protection plans can be written in Trust but changes to existing policies are not always possible, depending on your insurer. Business protection and Relevant Life Plans must be written in Trust from the start.

However, you may want to review your plans to make sure they’re still right for you. We can carry out a review of your plans and recommend appropriate Trusts for them.

Trusts as you can see are very important.

For more information or to discuss your needs, please call John Ireland now

on 0208 547 2583 or email, john@legacy-wills.co.uk

For more information, please click on this link 

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Common Excuses For Not Making A Will

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Many people put off making a Will for various reasons or excuses. Excuses are a result of a natural defence mechanism linked to the fear of doing something that you either don’t want to think about or have a lack of understanding on how to move forward with the confidence that you are doing the right thing to protect your bloodline. Here are some of the most common excuses people have for not making a Will along with information on why these shouldn’t become a barrier when looking to protect your family and assets.

My partner will automatically get everything – I don’t need a Will

This is not always the case; partners who are not legally married may receive nothing. Without a Will the laws of intestacy determine who will benefit from your estate. For example, if you die without making a Will and you are separated but not divorced, your spouse will still inherit regardless of your intentions however an unmarried partner would get nothing as your estate would be open to claim from bloodline relatives. Also consider what would happen if you both die at once.

My circumstances are about to change

Life is constantly changing; you may be getting Married, Divorced, moving House or having more Children, whilst these events could affect your Will. They should not stop you from making a Will. Often Wills can be written to cater for things that are about to happen, for example in contemplation of marriage, or to give everything to children who survive you by referring to them as your children in general as opposed to naming them individually. It’s a good idea to review your will after every major change in your life to ensure your Will still expresses your current wishes. You can change your Will any time you want; as you grow older you accrue more assets and therefore increase potential inheritance tax liability.

It costs too much to make a Will

People often over estimate the cost of a making a Will, with a basic Single Will costing around £135 and a Mirror Will £270. It is more affordable than you think to put your mind at rest knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of. Dying without a Will can cost much more in the long run, both financially and emotionally.

I’m too young to make a will

Wills are not just for older adults. If you have children under the age of eighteen, you need a will to ensure those assets go to your children and more importantly who should look after your children in the event of your death. Accidents and illness happen when you least expect, often nowadays I hear the phrases like “live today like it is your last” or “you only live once” this is a positive statement to remind us to get the best out of life as we don’t know what’s around the corner. With a Will in place whatever is around the corner you won’t leave your families inheritance to fate.

My family situation is too complicated

It is rare nowadays for family situations not to be complicated, however this only highlights the importance of making a Will. It is vital to discuss the areas that you feel may complicate matters and get the correct advice, most Will Writers offer a free initial meeting or consultation so that you can consider

all of your options and make an informed decision. Without a Will in place your wishes cannot be carried out and this will pass the complications on to your bloodline.

I don’t have the time

Making a Will doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. If you use a professional Will Writer they will do the work for you and by getting a Will made It will save your family and friends much more, time, trouble and expense after your death.

I can’t decide whether to make a basic Will or use Wills and Trusts

A basic Will is an absolute gift to a chosen beneficiary or beneficiaries and is fine if your wishes are straight forward and you don’t want to protect your estate from timely and costly probate, debt collectors, bankruptcy, inheritance tax and divorce settlements. A Trust can also help you protect your home from being sold to pay for care. The trust acts like a safe deposit box for your assets and instead of the estate going to probate the proceeds of your estate are directed to the trust and are afforded protection by the trust.

I haven’t got much to leave

Often when people take time to sit down and work this out they find they own more than they think. But even if you do have relatively little, but you have minor children, the most important reason for making a will is to select a guardian for them should you and your spouse, if any, die at the same time. Your assets are also likely to increase as you accumulate more throughout your life, a Will can ensure these future assets go to the right people and cause less emotional stress at the time of your death.

I don’t want to think about dying

Nobody wants to think about dying, as the saying goes “life is for living” but what happens if you put off making your Will? At the very worst the people you care about most will receive nothing and the state will get it all. Spending a little time on planning and making your Will can ensure that your loved ones and bloodline are protected. When you make a Will, everything you have worked hard for is protected; your assets will go to exactly the people you want to have them.

Remember you only live once and so do your beneficiaries. Making a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are protected throughout the generations, why not take the first step and talk to us about your wishes as part of our free Will consultation.

Call John Ireland on 0208 547 2583

“Inheritance Tax is a voluntary levy paid by those who distrust their heirs more than they dislike the Inland Revenue”

Roy Jenkins, former Chancellor of the Exchequer 1967 to 1970