Inheritance & Estate Planning

Inheritance Tax

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate advice on Estate Planning or Inheritance Tax Planning.

From 6 April 2017, the rules on Inheritance tax changed, providing for an additional “family home” allowance called the residence nil rate band (RNRB) or additional threshold where an individual has a qualifying property that forms part of their estate. In 2019/20 while the standard Inheritance Tax threshold (nil rate band) remains unchanged on 2018/19 band at £325,000, the residence nil rate band has increased from £125,000 to £150,000.  Individuals can now pass on assets – which include the family home – to their children or grandchildren worth up to £475,000, with no Inheritance tax liability. The residence nil rate band increases to £175,000 in 2020-21 after which it is planned to rise in line with inflation each year thereafter. The standard nil rate band will remain at £325,000 until April 2021 and will then also rise in line with inflation.

Certain lifetime gifts can be made without giving rise to an inheritance tax charge. For 2019/20 the annual gift exemption is £3,000 and it is worth considering making a gift of this amount if you are in a position to do so.

In addition, if you did not make use of any part of the £3,000 annual gift exemption to which you were entitled in 2018/19, then this can be utilised before 5th April 2020 as long as the current year’s allowance is also fully used. It can only be carried forward for one year and then, if unused, it is lost.

Unlimited gifts can also be made in the form of Potentially Exempt Transfers (PETs). Provided you live for 7 years after making the gift, it will be free of inheritance tax.

Please ensure that, should a gift be made by cheque, sufficient time is given for the cheque to clear before 5th April; otherwise it will not be included in the current year’s total.

Gifts of £250 can be made to any number of separate individuals without giving rise to an inheritance tax charge. Gifts of varying amounts can also be made between family members on the occasion of a wedding/civil partnership ceremony, without any inheritance tax liability.

Tax advice which contains no investment element is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Wills or Estate Planning.

Information regarding taxation levels are based on our current understanding of HMRC legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from taxation are dependent on your own individual circumstances and are subject to change.

Estate Planning

Wills

It is important for you to make a will regardless of the amount of possessions or money you have. There are a number of reasons to make a will such as –

  • if you die without a will (known as Intestate), there are legal rules which dictate how the money, property or possessions should be allocated. This may not be the way that you would have wished your money and possessions to be distributed
  • if you have children, it is important to make a will so that you can be sure that your wishes regarding arrangements for the children can be followed if either one or both parents die
    If you have a potential Inheritance Tax liability, it may be possible to reduce the amount of tax payable on the inheritance if you plan in advance and make a will.
  • if your circumstances have changed, it is important that you make a will to ensure that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes. For example, if you have separated and your ex-partner now lives with someone else, you may want to change your will. If you are married or enter into a registered civil partnership, this will make any previous will you have made invalid.
  • unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will, so the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Wills or Estate Planning.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows your loved ones to take care of you and your finances if you become unable to do so yourself.

There are two types of LPA:

A “Property and Financial Affairs” LPA allows your loved ones to deal with your finances including paying your bills, buying and selling your property and managing your bank accounts and investments.

A “Health and Welfare” LPA covers decisions about health and care. This can only be used if someone is incapable of dealing with such matters themselves.

This can save a great deal of money and distress, and will ensure that, as a vulnerable person, your affairs will be handled correctly and quickly.

If you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place, your family must apply to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed to deal with your finances. This can be slow and costly. If you already have an LPA in place, this will not be necessary.

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