As the festive period approaches and you’re busy making preparations for the big day, remember that Christmas can be a golden opportunity to sit down with your loved ones and talk about your plans for the future.
So, once the presents have been opened and lunch has been eaten, forget Trivial Pursuits and answer some of these questions...
Do you have an up to date Will?
Making a Will is the only way to ensure that your assets will ultimately be dealt with as you would wish. However, this is not the end of the story; it is also important to review your Will regularly, particularly in the event of any changes to your family circumstances, your financial position or taxation.
Have you considered your inheritance tax position?
In so far as your assets exceed £325,000 your estate may be subject to inheritance tax at a rate of 40%. There are however some allowances, as well as a range of measures that can be utilised to help reduce your exposure. You may therefore wish to consider whether you could take any lifetime tax planning steps or include tax-saving devices in your Will to ensure that you pass on your assets in the most tax efficient manner.
Have you made a Lasting Power of Attorney regarding your finances?
Many clients find it reassuring to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that if they were to lose mental capacity following an accident, due to illness or simply as they grow older, someone they trust is able to step in and assist with their finances. It is also considerably cheaper, quicker and easier than the alternative, which is to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order once someone has lost mental capacity.
Alternatively you could make a Lasting Power of Attorney to give someone else the legal authority to make health and care decisions for you if you were to become mentally unable to do so yourself.
Is your life insurance in order?
Life insurance is often a cost effective way of protecting your family should anything happen to you in the future. It can also be an excellent inheritance tax saving tool. However, if your life insurance is not correctly 'written into trust' your family may miss the opportunity to save considerable inheritance tax.
If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to work on your New Year’s Resolutions!
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or telephone us on 01380 733 300.