Thinking Ahead | UK estate planning service
We’ve created ‘Thinking ahead’ – a sophisticated estate plan that is tailored to you and your family at an affordable price. Whether you’re worried about who will look after your children should you die prematurely, your children’s financial future, protecting their inheritance from a possible divorce, your own future health and ability to make decisions or your ageing parents, we can help.
The importance of wills for protecting your wealth
Inheritance tax applies to the worldwide estate of anyone who dies domiciled in the UK. At 40% of any value of an estate over £325,000, it is, potentially, a substantial liability. However, assets given to a spouse or civil partner are exempt from inheritance tax (IHT) and the IHT free band is transferable between partners.
Taken together, these two features can be used to real advantage, achieving significant tax savings for your family and safeguarding your wealth.
A practical example
Assuming a straight-forward scenario, we will look at a married couple with total assets of £2 million. The husband’s portion of the estate is equal to £1.5million of their total assets.
On the husband’s death, his wife receives £875,000 outright with the capital held in trust.
Any children will receive the rest – ie £625,000 – outright when they reach 18.
There is £120,000 IHT to pay on the husband’s death. The widow may therefore not have enough capital for her needs and she may find her children own a share of the house – leaving her in a very insecure position.
The husband leaves everything he owns to his wife and dies first.
Under the current regime there is no tax at all on his death and the widow has the security of owning the family home, and all other assets, outright.
Further, their children will be able to claim both tax-free bands on her death. IHT will only apply on the second death to the portion of the combined estate over £650,000.
What we offer
Everyone’s situation is different. Our specialist estate planning team have helped thousands of clients and will work with you to tailor an estate plan that meets your individual needs.
The main issues which should generally be considered when preparing your will include:
- Choice of executors/trustees (especially important if your children are still young)
- Appointment of guardians for young children
- Legacies of cash or personal items
- Effective use of the inheritance tax (IHT) tax-free band and residence tax-free band
- Making the most effective use of IHT reliefs, for example for business property
- Effective use of the spouse or civil partner exemption from IHT via outright gifts or gifts into trust
- The tax-efficient use of flexible trusts which allows you to benefit children at the appropriate age and avoid giving them too much at too young an age
- Providing for the potential impact in your mental or physical condition in years to come, so you can be assured that your assets, medical treatment and living arrangements will be administered by someone of your choice.
This covers decisions affecting your property and finance, allowing you to predetermine who should act on your behalf should the worst happen and avoiding costly and time-consuming applications to the Court of Protection.
This covers medical and other decisions affecting your general welfare and again allows you to choose who should make these on your behalf. This is an emotive area, but the Withers team can help you identify suitable candidates to act as your Attorney, as well as defining limits to their powers and building in additional safeguards, where appropriate.
Living Wills (also known as Advance Decisions or Advance Directives) enable you to specify now what medical treatment you would and would not be prepared to accept should you be unable to give or refuse consent at the time. Whilst Living Wills are an alternative to Health and Welfare LPAs, they are limited in scope only to cover the particular situations specified in the Living Will itself.
We believe everyone should complete a Lasting Power of Attorney – but it must be carefully considered, drafted and stress-tested. Our leading team are here to help you through the process.
Living wills let you make legally binding decisions about your healthcare treatment ahead of time. We provide in-depth advice to clients, their carers and families on the choices available.
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