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We are dedicated to the preservation of family wealth. We recognise that the strength of our business lies in strong and long-lasting relationships with you, your family and your other professional advisers. Our aim is to ensure that both you and your beneficiaries benefit efficiently from the value of your estate (your assets) and it is for this reason that our estate planning services are based upon the three P’s of provision, preservation and protection
Protecting the value of your estate
The twin threats of tax and care fee costs must be considered.
As the population ages local authorities and the NHS are likely to continue tightening their approach to funding care fees. You are therefore increasingly likely to be required to fund your own care and the costs may be significant. We can advise on the implications of such fees and tailor your wills and the other available solutions to preserve your estate against this threat.
There is no quick fix for the threat of care fees and many of the aggressively marketed “solutions” are deeply flawed. In particular the transfer of your home to your children is layered with problems, leaves you vulnerable and could leave you open to claims by the local authority of “deliberate deprivation” of assets. Our care fee planning section sets out the key points for taking legitimate steps to plan for care fees. We can also offer advice in relation to local authority and NHS assessments and assist you in raising appeals against unfavourable assessments.
Inheritance Tax is payable when you die if the value of your estate exceeds the inheritance tax threshold. For Inheritance Tax purposes, your estate can include the value of gifts made within seven years before death and any interest you may have in particular trusts.
Inheritance Tax is payable at 40% on any excess over the ‘nil rate band’ threshold at the date of your death. The current ‘nil rate band’ is only £325,000 per person which allows most couples to pass down£650,000 of value without any charge to Inheritance Tax. There are many important reliefs and exemptions which can be claimed and proper use of these is at the core of our tax planning service.
We have significant experience in helping clients to reduce or eliminate Inheritance Tax liabilities including applications to the Court of Protection to achieve planning schemes for clients who lack the capacity to make their own arrangements.
Preserving the value of your estate
A sound financial plan is essential to ensure that the real value of your estate will be preserved and we work with independent financial advisers to ensure you take maximum advantage of investment opportunities within your risk profile. If you don’t already have a financial adviser then we will be happy to introduce you.
Making provision for your beneficiaries
A Will is central to the estate planning process and will go a long way to ensure that you make adequate provision for both your dependants and your chosen beneficiaries. A professionally drafted Will can ensure that the provision you make is protected after your death against the creditors, divorcing spouses or vulnerability of your chosen beneficiaries. Now, more than ever, your estate is under threat from liabilities such as inheritance tax and nursing home care fees. In reviewing your estate planning and preparing your Will it is essential to consider these threats if you are to preserve the value of your estate.
Estate planning begins with your Will but must include consideration of many other matters. We often work with our clients’ other professional advisers, such as accountants and financial advisers, to ensure you receive a complete estate planning service.