The key to estate planning is to understand the full value of your estate, the nature of those assets on death and how you would like the proceeds divided between your loved ones, wider family, friends and charity. Certain assets such as commercial property, farmland, private company and some AIM listed shares attract valuable tax reliefs. You need to think carefully about whom you leave these assets to on your death, if you wish to minimise any future inheritance tax that may become payable. There are also ways of writing your will to leave some monies to charity and thereby pay a lower rate of inheritance tax.
Where you are living with someone to whom you are neither married nor in a civil partnership it is even more important to write a will. The laws within England and Wales do not currently recognise such “common law” relationships and so there can be some unintended consequences. It also gets complicated with children from more than one relationship, both in terms of guardianship and financial provision.
Outside of wills you should update your “expression of wishes” on your pensions and company death in service plans. Most modern pension plans have flexible death benefit options and no tax payable where the member dies before age 75. But older pension plans often payout a lump sum to the widow(er) which then forms part of their estate and potentially subject to future inheritance tax. We check all our clients plans for such details and recommend replacements where that will be in your best interest.
After taking some independent legal and financial advice please write a will – it will not kill you and you will save your loved ones a lot of grief, at a stressful time of their lives. We do not offer will writing services, but we can give you the names of local will writers and trust specialists whom we have met in person. We work with such individuals to achieve the best outcome for you, that meets your requirements, whilst keeping a balance of access, control and flexibility for the future. We also work with specialists in estate administration.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Estate or Tax Planning or Will writing.