IWC can help you with all aspects of estate planning; making your will, the creation of trusts, funeral planning and avoiding inheritance tax. Protecting your estate and its assets and safeguarding your children`s legacy can be achieved in a number of ways. If you would like to talk to a consultant with regards to setting up an estate plan for you and your family we can help.
At your free consultation, we can discuss these options and draft any documents you require;
What is Estate Planning?
An estate plan is a long term scheme devised to take care of your family and assets in the event that you or your partner either need long term residential care or perhaps pass away. It is a continuous process that will differ depending on the circumstances of the individual involved. There are 2 fundamental goals:
Protecting your Assets
Estate planning ensures the eventual disbursement of your assets to the intended beneficiaries. You may think that, provided you have a will, your family will be secure but this is not necessarily the case. There are other threats to consider, for example what would happen to your children`s inheritance if your husband or wife were to remarry after your death? If your share in a property has automatically passed to your spouse, your children could end up being dis-inherited.
Another potential threat to your estate is local authority care home fees. According to statistics, women have a 1 in 4 chance of needing long term care and men a 1 in 6 chance. You will be means-tested by the authorities and if you have assets worth between £14,250 and £23,250, you have to pay a contribution to social care costs. If you have assets over £23,250, you must pay all care costs. This will amount to £30,000 - £50,000 per year. Should the last surviving spouse need to go into care, the authorities can even put a charge against your home.
Lessening Tax Liability
The second goal is avoiding, wherever possible paying 40% death duty on the estate. Inheritance tax seems terribly unfair, especially when you`ve paid tax throughout your life; income tax, national insurance contributions, capital gains, VAT. It does however have one great plus, it is avoidable with proper planning. There are many ways in which you can do this; all involve either lessening the value of the estate or distancing yourself from assets. Often people now refer to inheritance tax as a voluntary tax because there are steps that can be taken to mitigate inheritance tax.
Trusts are an important tool. They are used to protect assets and property from possession by creditors prior to inheritance. This includes protection from divorce settlements, debts and the trust will not be included during means testing for care home fees. The current owner establishes a trust with 2 benefactors; themselves and the inheritor. Upon death, the ownership transfers to the inheritor. In the case of a protective property trust, it is agreed with the trustee that the current owner will continue to inhabit the property until they die.
Married couples must register as tenants in common so each spouse`s share in the property is treated separately. When the first spouse dies, the second does not inherit as their interest goes directly into the trust. It is written into the deed that the surviving spouse has the right to live in the property for life or will receive proceeds of any rent. If they decide to sell, they can do as they wish with `their share` but the other half is safely in trust for the beneficiaries.
A family protection trust means half share is left directly to the children subject to the surviving spouse`s right of occupation. When the surviving spouse leaves the house, with their consent, it can be sold and the half share of the deceased spouse goes to the children.
Book your Free Appointment
If you are considering creating a will, property trust or estate planning trust, it is recommended that you consult a professional. The law is very complex and there are many options to consider depending on your circumstances. Why not arrange your free consultant with an estate-planning expert at IWC? We`ll discuss your assets, family situation and any concerns you have. We can then present you with a range of solutions and draft any legal documents you require. The first step is to call us - lines are open until 10pm 7 days a week.