Our solicitors understand that planning for the future is very important - but often we leave things too late. Peace of mind is hard to place a value on.
In addition to advising on inheritance tax issues, we can help you with income tax and capital gains tax. Our expert solicitors can help complete your self assessment tax return and ensure that you claim all the appropriate exemptions and reliefs.
Our solicitors can advise you on a range of issues including:
Inheritance Tax Planning
On death, your estate is subject to Inheritance Tax. Currently (for the 2009/10 tax year) the first £325,000 is taxed at 0%; this is known as the nil band rate. Following changes introduced by the Autumn 2007 budget and which are now law, where the second to die of a married couple or civil partnership passes away on or after 9th October 2007, leaving their nil band rate unused – often the case when they left everything to their spouse or civil partner, meaning the spouse exemption applied – this nil rate band can be carried forward and added to that of the survior. This gives, under current rules, a total of £650,000 to offset before IHT.
Carrying forward an unused exemption is not granted automatically; it must be claimed. Such claims can become complicated where the first to die passed away many years ago, when another tax regime applied such as estate duty. Obtain specialist advice to ensure that the maximum amount available is claimed.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) was introduced on 1st October 2007 – it is now the primary way to give an attorney the authority to look after a person's financial affairs. The LPA operates both before and after a person becomes incapable of managing their own affairs. It is also possible to make a LPA setting out of your wishes regarding your personal welfare. Our Solicitors recommend that everyone considers making an LPA.
Long Term Care Planning
It's hard to imagine not being able to live in your own home, and look after yourself. Planning at the right time to make sure any care you may need in the future is covered without having to sell your home is important for some people. We can help you find out more about the rules about paying for a permanent care home place and we work closely with independent financial advisors who can discuss with you your options concerning wealth protection and long term care funding.
Living Wills (Advance Directives)
An Advance Directive can record your wishes with respect to certain medical procedures that are, or are not, to be employed on loss of mental capacity ('advanced directive'). Alternatively, a Living Will can record your beliefs on such procedures for the family to consider should a difficult decision with regard to your health have to be made ('non-advanced directive'). Read more on setting up a UK Living Will.
A Trust is a fund which contains assets that are controlled by you and/or a nominated third party for the benefit of a specific individual(s). They are governed by complex legal regulations and separate tax rules. A Trust can be set up at any time during the lifetime of an individual to become operative immediately or not until your death. If you want to know more about what a Trust can do for you contact our specialist Solicitors today.
If you have young children, you should consider appointing guardians to take care of them if you die while they remain young. Even if you have 'godparents', we all know that the choice of godparent is sometimes an emotional decision made at a specific time and you may not want them to bring up your children. Appointment of Guardians is usually done whilst making your Will.