INHERITANCE – THE KNIVES ARE OUT

TODAY’S BLOG

INHERITANCE – DISPUTES AT ALL TIME HIGH

Perhaps you have heard the saying “Where there’s a Will there’s a crowd” the idea being that when money is on the table, people gather. Of course, there may be very good legitimate reasons for doing so – perhaps during lockdown you have watched “Knives Out” a comedic story about family dysfunction and the quest to understand what happened.

Whilst I am not suggesting murder is on the cards for most families, though I imagine that lockdown has provided more moments of stress, clearly one of the current terms of the hour is “entitled”. To my mind such a word is particularly relevant here. The Ministry of Justice published figures showing a record 188 cases went to the High Court in 2019, by individuals claiming to be entitled to a share or larger share of a deceased’s estate.

KNIVES OUT

EVERYONE HAS A STORY

There are a variety of reasons for this of course, behind each is at least one story (much like the film). Family structures are certainly more complex, with multiple marriages, children from different relationships and so on. Whilst this is obviously more commonplace since divorce law evolved from 1857, 1937, 1969 (Divorce Reform Act) and 1973 (Matrimonial Causes Act), the context is nothing new as many of Shakespeare’s play will attest.

“BETTER THREE HOURS TOO SOON THAN A MINUTE TOO LATE”

The motivation may be more encouraged by the sums involved which has made the prospect of costly legal representation more appealing. Having your Will properly written is also important. Those making “last minute” homemade Wills are more obviously subject to challenge, being invariably poorly prepared and badly thought through. I don’t think anyone likes preparing their Will, it’s a fairly morbid task, but there is a huge sense of peace of mind once you have done so properly. It is part of what our Ten Minute Challenge has been leading towards – getting the difficult, uncomfortable and perhaps “boring” stuff done. There may be many gifts you wish to leave your loved ones upon your demise, but I can assure you that clarity is one of the best.

So – if your Will has not been reviewed since 2015 when the rules about property changed, now is the time to do so. We can put you in touch with a specialist. Please attempt our 10 Minute Challenge, it could be the most helpful set of final documents you provide.

As for the film, staring Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and Christopher Plummer (a cast to die for!) well, its available on all the usual platforms, here is the trailer.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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INHERITANCE – THE KNIVES ARE OUT2020-07-13T12:59:52+01:00

BETTER NOT CALL SAUL

TODAY’S BLOG

SELLING TRUTH YOU WANT TO HEAR

One of the TV series I enjoy is a spin off from Breaking Bad – Better Call Saul, which you can find on Netflix. In simple terms it is the story of James “Jimmy” McGill who is the younger wayward sibling of two brothers. Regularly in trouble, Jimmy is nothing like his responsible, pedantic brother Charles who is a very successful lawyer. Despite their differences, Jimmy is close to his brother, tending to a peculiar illness which is debilitating.

Jimmy is a low-level conman, who has a talent for spotting a fool and parting him from his money as most confidence tricksters do. His observational skills and self-confidence combined with a malleable relationship with rules are the perfect combination for selling a different version of truth, a lie that people want to believe. It becomes apparent to him that perhaps being a lawyer requires a similar skill set. Most believe that lawyers are crooks with a Degree and Jimmy can smell opportunity.

The numerous series chart his misdemeanours, and these run parallel to the mirroring characters of the drug world. Instead of law firms and partners, read gangs and cartel all pushing the same freedom fix, but with grave penalties for error.

Better Call Saul - Netflix

TO WHAT PURPOSE?

The series raises lots of relevant questions – fundamentally what is our purpose? Who is Jimmy? Why is he endowed with the skills he has and how could these be put to more rewarding, purposeful use. We witness him genuinely attempt to do good, to remove or reduce harm, to expose corruption and to protect the vulnerable, yet his efforts are met with the resistance of indifference and judgement that prevents him from straying outside of his box. A societal box that others have placed him in. This is of course particularly timely as we all consider the challenges that face anyone that is genuinely interested in equality, justice and fairness.

It isn’t often that I would encourage you to pay attention to someone that is essentially a corrupt lawyer, but there are many valuable insights to be found. These are as basic as understanding the mechanics of a scam, hiding in plain sight and how to find hidden fees. However we also have to face the reality of understanding depth, capacity, risk and the difference between problems and trouble.

Many of the problems that Jimmy faces are problems that many of us may experience at some point – whether that’s the importance of a Will, care costs, business partnerships, deals and the value of what we provide to others. However at its heart of the story is the strength and weaknesses of relationships – whether that’s between siblings, employers, family or friends. Jimmy is largely making decisions in reaction to those relationships, as are others. Every character has a story but as ever, being able to see the solutions to your own problems is often aided by an impartial other.

One of the lessons I have been reminded of this week, today in fact, is that as a planner, I help provide objectivity and accountability – helping clients keep on track with their stated values and plans for a great life. Jimmy could have had a very different story if someone had shown him how his skills could be applied, if he had received the right support and encouragement. It may not have been as dramatic (and worthy of a TV series) but it would certainly have ensured prosperity in the fullest sense of the word.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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BETTER NOT CALL SAUL2020-06-02T16:17:08+01:00

WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A CROWD…

TODAY’S BLOG

WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A CROWD…

Making a Will is a vital and basic part of financial planning. However, you need to think carefully about who you select to be the Executor (the person responsible for ensuring the Will is properly implemented). Sadly, Anita Border’s choice of her neighbour wasn’t a good choice.

Anita died in 2015 and her Will names two beneficiaries.  However neither of these received a penny as the nominated Executor, one Mrs David Loveday used the proceeds of the estate to buy himself a new car, some holidays and settle some of his debts. The Court case T20190613 at Woolwich Crown Court saw Mr Loveday plead guilty to fraud by failing to transfer funds to Mrs Gibbs, one of the beneficiaries. Whilst sentencing will happen in November, Judge David Miller has stated that it is likely that Mr Loveday will serve time in prison.

THREE’S COMPANY

Thankfully you do not have to appoint a random neighbour to be an Executor, you can select anyone you wish. I always suggest having three to ensure a majority decision can be taken should the need arise. I am also pleased to report that Alexandra Truesdale has written a piece on this very subject for our latest Spotlight magazine, which should be with you very shortly, if not already.

Constructing a Will can be complicated due to complex families. It can also be straight-forward for, you guessed it, straight-forward ones. Understanding what is important and what is essential is the skill of a solicitor and not something that you should ever leave to chance or a knock off do-it-yourself Will.

Check Spotlight October 2019 for more information. Alex can be found here.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A CROWD…2019-10-16T17:49:32+01:00

CONFERENCE TIME

Conference Time

I was on conference in Birmingham this week… no not for the Conservative party.  A much more trustworthy bunch – “my institute” – the CISI or Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. I have been attending this for a number of years now and always manage to find several useful and practical things that I can do to improve how we help clients, be that improved technical skills, evolving technology or “simply” better practice management.

This year I was particularly struck by some of the issues raised by Dr Moira Somers, a clinical neuropsychologist from Canada. In essence she helped explain why all of us are guilty of not doing things that are good for us. In this context why, clients do not do some of the things that we advise or require them to do so that we can help them better. Things in their interests but simply get put off again and again.

That Thing You Don’t Do…

Two things that readily came to my mind. Getting clients to draw up their Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney. Admittedly this is a fairly morbid subject. The professional advice and implementation costs are not insignificant. The importance of having these in place can never be overstated by anyone that has experienced not having them when required. Like everyone else, there are things in my life that I don’t get around to. We might call this self-defeating behaviour. Hopefully I now have some thoughts about new strategies I might employ to encourage “adherence” … but I guess time will tell if these are effective.

No Will, No Way

Dr Somers explained that In Canada, 70% of people do not have a Will (audience audible drawing of breath). Here in the UK I have little reason to believe that it is much better. After a quick bit of research, it would seem that in London 59% of adults do not have a Will. This is not as bad as Glasgow where the rate rises to 70%.  As the life expectancy in Glasgow is far lower than it is in London, I would encourage Glaswegians to accept the challenge to beat London in this statistic alone.

Not Enough For A Boiler Room Scam

Basic money skills – such as budgeting and saving are at very poor levels in the UK. One statistic mentioned was put in stark terms. Most people in Britain do not have enough cash in their bank to replace their boiler, should it fail this winter. They would have to borrow and go into debt. The UK is not unique in this regard. Our clients are of course people who do save or have done so and are better at acting for their benefit (and that of their family). However, most of us could probably improve our handling of money, so that it is not wasted or simply frittered away. Every good financial plan starts with the end in mind, but also the reality of today, how money is spent and used now. The cost of lifestyle is vital to understand when attempting to maintain and protect it.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Email me to get in touch
CONFERENCE TIME2018-10-05T11:13:54+01:00

Power of Attorney – Are you due a Refund?

News from Alex Truesdale today in relation to possible refunds for recent Power of Attorney.

Power of Attorney – are you due a refund?

OPG LPA/EPA REFUND PROCESS: FEBRUARY 2018

WHY HAS A REFUND BEEN OFFERED?

When LPAs/EPAs are registered, a fee is payable to the Office of the Public Guardian, of £120 or £110 per LPA/EPA, which in some circumstances was reduced by 50%.

In an announcement made by the Ministry of Justice yesterday, partial refunds are being offered to those who applied to register for powers of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 (you don’t need to know precisely when you applied).

According to the MoJ, the process to register LPA/EPAs became more efficient during this period (probably because the volume of LPA registrations submitted has climbed so markedly as the general public become aware of the advantages of having LPAs in place)  and as a result, operating costs for the Office of the Public Guardian came down. However, the fee charged for the application did not reduce in line with this. The fee was subsequently lowered by the MoJ to £82 per LPA, a change which came into effect on 1 April 2017. This announcement stops short of an automatic refund being sent out to all donors, so do please spread the word if you have friends, neighbours or relatives who may also have applied

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?

This applies to lasting powers of attorney (LPA) and enduring powers of attorney (EPA) made in England and Wales.  You can make a claim if you’re the ‘donor’ – the person who made the power of attorney, or an ‘attorney’ – appointed by the donor in an LPA or EPA.

The refund must be paid to the donor – or to his/her estate if the donor has since died and may take up to 12 weeks to appear. You only need to make one claim per donor, even if you made more than one power of attorney.

WHAT IS THIS WORTH TO ME?
How much you get depends on when you paid the fees – see table below. You’ll also get 0.5% interest. You’ll get half the refund if you paid a reduced fee (‘remission’).

When you paid the fee Refund for each Power of Attorney
April 2013 – September 2013

October 2013 – March 2014

April 2014 – March 2015

April 2015 – March 2016

April 2016 – March 2017

£54

£34

£37

£38

£45

HOW DO I CLAIM?

If the donor is still alive, start here:  https://claim-power-of-attorney-refund.service.gov.uk/when-were-fees-paid

You’ll need the donor’s UK bank account number and sort code.

You must claim by phone ( 0300 456 0300 (choose option 6))  if:

the donor doesn’t have a UK bank account
the donor has died
you’re a court-appointed deputy

CAN ALEX TRUESDALE WILLS LIMITED APPLY FOR THE REFUND FOR ME?

Unfortunately no – only the donor or the attorney is able to apply.

I HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS – WHO CAN I CALL?

Just phone 0300 456 0300 (option 6) or email the OPG on poarefunds@justice.gsi.gov.uk

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Email me to get in touch
Power of Attorney – Are you due a Refund?2018-02-02T13:18:10+00:00

Delusion and Florence Foster Jenkins

Delusion and Florence Foster Jenkins

How we respond to money is explored in the new film by Stephen Frears “Florence Foster Jenkins”. The film recounts the true story of the wealthy musical benefactor played by Meryl Streep. Sadly she does not possess the singing talent that she so desperately craves, yet a doting and financially dependent husband (Bayfield) played by Hugh Grant, contrives to protect her in a bubble of innocence, a charming modern day PR man. In practice, this protected them both.

The delusion is maintained through some creative and tender manipulation of a largely uniformed social circle, who pass the entrance test of wealth, yet clearly have a lack of knowledge about music. In reality this exposes their own hunger for social standing and are caught by the inability to speak the truth for fear of being outcast. There is no malice in the contrivance, but reminds us again of the impact of crowds and fear of being different, something more like the Emperor’s new clothes.

Collusion in delusion

I was surprised how much I enjoyed the film, it is warm, funny and moving. This, despite essentially being a story about the ultra-rich, living in denial of any form of reality and for whom success is bought. The strong character performances carried the suggestion that denial and delusion are arguably just as important as the truth, a sentiment that Shakespeare frequently conveyed. Perhaps in relationships denial of some realities (we all have flaws) is even a necessity.

I won’t spoil the film for you, do go and see it. As a financial planner, I would draw your attention to the briefcase and the lengths that people go to avoid the harsh confrontation with reality. The Q&A at the BFI last night with Hugh Grant, Stephen Frears and writer Nicholas Martin was also illuminating, ironically employing similar delusionary tactics to protect Florence, the audience and probably the box office. This is of course is the skill in great story-telling, how to edit and reassemble a story that shapes opinion, of course the political interpretation is ever present.

FFJ preview Q&A BFI 2016-05-04

So the question is, what are we in denial about? Some denials are probably healthy and serve our own interests, other – such as the truth about your own finances is rather more vitally exposed, not harshly, but so that reality can bring about a healthy perspective.

If you would like a financial reality check, you now simply need to get in touch – contact details all over the site. Here is the trailer for the new film.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Delusion and Florence Foster Jenkins2017-02-02T13:32:43+00:00

Where there’s a Will – part 2

Where there’s a Will – part 2

I asked Alex Truesdale for her thoughts on the ruling by the Court of Appeal and am thankful for her very valuable insight, here are her thoughts and observations.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment in this long-running dispute confirms that disinherited children are permitted by a 1975 statute to challenge their parents’ Wills if reasonable provision for their maintenance is not made. “Maintenance” means the child’s cost of daily living at whatever level is appropriate to them. The question of what is “reasonable” is dealt with by the court exercising its discretion to consider a number of factors laid down by statute, including the child’s needs and circumstances, the needs and circumstances of the beneficiary who has inherited instead, and the parent’s conduct. Here, Arden LJ endorses the lower court’s description of Melita Jackson’s conduct towards her daughter Heather Illot, since their 1978 estrangement, as “unreasonable, capricious and harsh”, before replacing the lower court’s £50,000 award with a sum of £163,000. This, Arden LJ reasoned, would allow Mrs Illot to purchase her house, receive a modest income, and potentially arrange a pension through equity release, all without compromising her state benefits.

This is not new Law

None of this is new law. But it is inevitable that this high profile victory for Heather Ilott – albeit one which sees her receiving just over 1/3 of her late mother’s estate – will encourage further challenges to Wills which seek to disinherit family members, particularly if there is no connection between a testator and the charity which has benefited from a windfall legacy. A costs order has yet to be made but will be considerable: Melita Jackson’s insistence that her executors defend to the hilt any attempt by her daughter to contest the Will will already have eroded the value of her estate, and so now the charities themselves face a smaller residual legacy and their own costs bill. There may be a further appeal to the Supreme Court, but I would suspect that the charities will take a view on the reputational as well as financial damage they risk in prolonging a dispute which has run since 2004 and, arguably, since the estrangement in 1978.

Where does this leave testamentary capacity? Much as it was before – the award made in this case turns on its own facts, and does not represent any further curtailment of one’s freedom to leave one’s estate as one pleases, so we should all still be making Wills.

Think ahead and think carefully

However, I would encourage those who do wish to exclude family members from their Wills to leave contemporaneous evidence of their reasoning not only to exclude a particular beneficiary, but also to favour other beneficiaries. This is particularly important if, in the case of charities, the testator has no connection with, or history of donations to, charity during their lifetime. I have been instructed on a number of cases where we have done just that by way of a side letter, to try to avoid the washing of too much dirty linen during probate, a process which makes Wills public. And those asked to act as executors should always check whether they are risking accepting a poisoned chalice that may compel their involvement in a protracted legal battle. As in this case, that may, sadly, become the testator’s most enduring legacy.

Alexandra Truesdale MIPW

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited | Registered in England and Wales no 7275445 | Registered office: 27 Mizen Close Cobham Surrey KT11 2RJ

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited is a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters and complies with its Code of Practice

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Where there’s a Will – part 22017-01-06T14:39:25+00:00

Where there’s a Will…

Where there’s a Will…

Perhaps you know the saying.. “where there’s a Will, there’s a crowd”, well it seems that there may have been a landmark ruling in the Court of Appeal. This could impact anyone wishing to disinherit their own children.

The potential landmark ruling was handed down by Lady Justice Arden at the Court of Appeal on 27 July 2015 throws into question the “security” of a number of Wills.

Long story short – Heather Ilott challenged her late mother’s Will of 2002. The original Will made by her mother Melita Jackson, expressly prohibited her only daughter from any inheritance from her estate, leaving the entire estate to animal charities. This all stemmed from a family event in 1978 when Heather then 17, eloped with her boyfriend, who she later married. Mrs Jackson died in 2004 and the Will was initially challenged by her daughter and she was awarded £50,000 of the £486,000 estate. An appeal was initially denied, but this week was upheld by Lady Justice Arden. Heather Ilott was awarded £164,000 about a third of the estate.

“Unreasonable, capricious and harsh”

Lady Justice Arden, ruled that the exclusion of her daughter from an inheritance was unreasonable, capricious and harsh. Ruling that she should have a greater share of the estate.

Needless to say this prompts a few concerns and questions. Firstly it has taken 11 years to agree the terms of Probate and settle the Will. Secondly the original Will, despite being “crystal clear” was overturned, not completely, but essentially opening the way for more legal challenges to Executors. Of course, the animal charities have also lost a reasonable amount too – presumably having an impact on their planning somewhere.

The number of Wills challenged each year continues to rise which rather affirms the statement that where there’s a Will, there’s a crowd. Most people do not understand what is involved when someone dies, having little or no grasp of the lengthy delays that can occur. This case has been rolling on for 11 years!

You can see the ruling by clicking here.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Where there’s a Will…2017-01-06T14:39:25+00:00

Estates: Your Will online forever

Estates: Your Will online forever

You may not be aware that the Government has now made it possible to search for Wills online. So once you are gone, your last Will and testament is available for anyone to see, should they wish to. Essentially it is nothing more than a searchable database which enables anyone to pay £10 to obtain an electronic copy of historic Wills, assuming the system works, you will receive your copy within about 10 days. It is free to search, but the Will itself costs £10.

It is estimated that there are over 41 million Wills and Grants of Probate on the database, which are compiled from 1858 onwards for England and Wales. I’m reminded of the film “Waking Ned Devine” which is a comedy about a man who wins the lottery but dies from shock, to collect his winnings, he has to be alive, leaving his community to concoct some creative solutions.

Implications

There will be some people who certainly won’t relish the prospect of their Will being published online – perhaps a few celebrities or even Royalty. Remember that for some people a Will reveals the state of family relationships at the point the Will was made.

HMRC better informed?

Perhaps the more important point about a Will or Grant of Probate is that assets are valued and those that are inherited ought to be more visible. This essentially provides a money trail for HMRC to follow. Remember evading tax is illegal, but with this approach it really ought to be the case that HMRC are able to now close in on those that don’t declare sufficient assets in their estate.

There are also implications for capital gains tax too – if you inherit an asset, then unless you sell it, or gift it, there is reasonable grounds to assume that you still own it. If it disappears from your asset inventory, surely questions would be asked which have a knock on effect for prospect of unpaid capital gains tax and perhaps even income tax (if the asset generated income). In short, anyone that isn’t being crystal clear about  their assets is likely to come under greater scrutiny.

Other implications also revolve around more “joined up thinking” in that your DVLA licence and car insurance are connected and if you now try to rent or hire a car, you need to input your NI number so that a DVLA permission certificate can be generated. This could be used to link to your investments (pensions and ISAs in particular) but why not your household insurance policy, meant to insure your physical assets.

All in all, I think this will lead to deeper and better information about us all, which will to some extent be publicly available, but more importantly available to HMRC. So make sure you declare your assets and taxes properly. Above all make sure your Will is current and reflects your wishes.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Estates: Your Will online forever2017-01-06T14:39:27+00:00

Estates: What do I do when someone close dies?

Estates: What do I do when someone close dies?

Like most people, this is something that I have experienced personally on several occassions. Everyone says that when someone dies, “its a difficult time” – it is, but having just read a link from a follower on Twitter, clearly there are some organisations that are actually making life coping with death even harder. I’m fully aware that this is a morbid topic, invariably one that is met with humour, but of course it is deeply personal, highly sensitive and one that we all have to address.

Most of us do not get to time to organise our final farewells, but some do, this is perhaps the one of the few positives from a mortal illness or disease. However that doesn’t lessen the pain or the very real experience that “money” isn’t top of the to-do list. In fact in my experience with clients, “money” is never at the top of any “to-do” list. As you may know I like to draw connections with movies, I can only say that the WH Auden poem read at the funeral in “Four Weddngs and a Funeral” captures something of grief that few movies achieve.

Order, comfort and relief

One of the elements of service that a good financial planner brings is a sense of order to finances. Personally I favour simplicity and as people get older they tend to want less nuance, preferring something that is very easy to monitor and manage. Having your financial details available for you and your potential beneficiaries readily available is a genuine relief. Clarity of what you have, where it is and who needs to be spoken to is hugely undervalued. Just pause for a moment and ask yourself if you would value this now? who knows where all your important “stuff” is? Is it difficult even for you to remember what you have?

Reviewing your Will and ensuring that the Executors know their responsibilities (and can be helped with them) undoubtedly makes grief much less burdened by the practicalities of “the aftermath”. Its odd that only yesterday I was on a training day about Trusts – which when used properly can really help with estate planning, but naturally requires quite a lot of forward planning, but whether you need a Trust or not, the questions posed about your own death and how your estate and affairs are to be managed are applicable to most people. Whenever someone dies their estate needs “settling” which means giving an accurate account to all connected parties, including HMRC and the dreaded Probate and inheritance tax forms.

May I suggest that you read this personal article by Victoria Bischoff, a journalist at the Daily Mail who writes movingly and succinctly about the problems that she and her family faced despite her mother’s highly organised affairs. The link is here. I have been through the process personally and am aware of how what should be simple, becomes unnecessarily difficult.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Estates: What do I do when someone close dies?2017-01-06T14:39:28+00:00
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