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In Britain today families encompass increasingly complex arrangements. Parliament introduces legislation which impacts us and our loved ones. On top of all that tax rules change year on year and can catch you off guard.
You may already have a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney in place but it is sensible to keep these documents under review to keep up with changes in your own personal circumstances as well as the law which governs the arrangements you have put in place.
Perhaps you have experienced one or more of the following events since making your Will or Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Divorce and/or remarriage.
- Entering into, or dissolving, a civil partnership.
- Birth of children or grandchildren.
- Death of someone named as an Executor or Beneficiary or Attorney.
- Provision of regular financial support for anyone.
- Exclusion of a family member from benefiting under the Will.
- Purchase or sale of a property, business or second home either in England or Wales or abroad.
You may be at risk of paying inheritance tax if your estate exceeds £325,000. Perhaps your estate could benefit from the transferable Nil Rate Band which could effectively double your tax free allowance? Or perhaps the Residence Nil Rate Band allowance will apply? You might want to consider making tax efficient gifts in your lifetime.
A Matter of Trust?
You may wish to update your Will to include a Trust if…
- Any family members are vulnerable to outside influences or are perhaps not adept at managing their finances;
- a potential beneficiary receives means tested benefits? A straightforward gift may be lost and the beneficiary no better off if care is not taken to protect their gift;
- you have insured pension entitlements or life policies which are not yet held in trust; or
- you think it possible that you or someone close to you may in the future have to bear the cost of care fees.
A Question of Health and Welfare
Nobody wants to dwell on the possibility of poor health but as we are all living longer it becomes a real concern. You can help your loved ones manage any health issues you encounter if your health deteriorates with a Lasting Power of Attorney. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney your health and financial matters may have to be managed by the Courts.
Perhaps you are an attorney who may already be managing the affairs of a loved one. Do you understand the new tests and structures which govern how you can act?