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Personal

Estate Planning

Inheritance tax can significantly erode the wealth that you pass on to your loved ones. Yet viewed in the right way, it is ultimately a voluntary tax. So, good planning enables you to protect your wealth.

Estate planning is not just about reducing inheritance tax liabilities though. It is also about making sure the right assets are passed on to the right people and getting the assurance that your estate passes down the family line. As an example, you may leave your estate to a son or daughter. However if they get divorced their inheritance will be included in any financial settlement.

How inheritance tax works

Inheritance tax is payable if your estate is over the nil-rate band. This is currently £325,000 per person. Any unused nil-rate band can pass between spouses and civil partners and upon a second death the total nil-rate band could be £650,000.

The value of your estate* is calculated and the available nil-rate band (£325,000) is deducted. The balance is then subject to inheritance tax. Any tax due needs to be paid before the estate* can be settled.

From 2017/18 we will also see the introduction of the main residence nil-rate band. Initially, it will be set at £100,000 although it will increase each tax year until 2020/21 – at which point it will be £175,000.Also transferable between spouses and civil partners. The main residence nil-rate band is reduced if your estate is worth more than £2,000,000. The reduction is £1 for every £2 over the £2,000,000.

*Your estate includes the value of property, savings and general possessions. This extends to overseas assets and you also need to include any gifts made within the previous seven years.

Why should you plan for inheritance tax now?

Let’s imagine you want to pass on your estate to your children. Upon your death, the beneficiaries of your will are responsible for paying any inheritance tax due before settling your estate. The tax needs to be paid before the assets that you have left to your children can be distributed. This can cause delays – not to mention added worry at an already difficult time.

Planning ahead can help ensure more of your estate passes to your intended beneficiaries (and less to the tax man). We will help you look at ways to minimise the liability.

Reviewing existing pensions, life assurance or investments is also vitally important to ensure they are set up in the most inheritance tax-efficient way. Examples might be making sure a life assurance policy is in trust. Or even ensuring a pension can be paid into the newly available beneficiary flex-access drawdown upon death.

There are also numerous other exemptions and reliefs that may help to reduce – or even eliminate – tax charges related to inheritance tax. For example, gifts made seven years before your death might benefit from reduced tax. Taper relief might also be available for very large gifts. In addition, gifts to charities might bring down the value of your estate (for inheritance tax purposes), or help to reduce the inheritance tax rate from 40% to 36%.

There’s also the consideration of increasing asset values, which can further complicate the position for future beneficiaries. We can provide guidance on a will, which is a crucial part of estate planning.

There are also considerations such as your family retaining control over the assets you pass on. Fortunately, a little thought and careful planning can protect future beneficiaries from the impact of things like divorce or bankruptcy – ensuring your wealth is passed down the bloodline.

Working with a tax specialist like Kirk Rice means that you are helped to plan and make the right decisions. We are on top of the constantly changing legislation. And you get the peace of mind your estate won’t be eroded by a large long-term inheritance tax obligation or changing family circumstances.

Is my business subject to inheritance tax?

In general, most businesses running for at least two years benefit from a 100% business property relief. Plus, assets that you own that are used in a business (in which you are a partner or have controlling interests) also attract business property relief at 50%. Our advisers will be able to ascertain exactly what tax relief your business might qualify for.

Why Kirk Rice?

We are independent, which means we are not tied to specific providers. This way, we are able to look at the full spectrum of products across the market. Our recommendations might include the use of trusts for estate protection, or specialist products designed specifically for inheritance tax planning. And we always clearly highlight the charges and risks for each recommendation.

First, we conduct a full review and analysis of your existing provisions. A financial planner works with our tax specialists to work out the best way to mitigate or reduce your liabilities. Then we conduct research to find the best providers. We provide you with a report summarising the outcome of our review, including our recommendations. If you agree to them, we take full care of the implementation of these recommendations. From thereon, we’ll provide a full annual review (or six-monthly if required) if appropriate.

A no-obligation estate planning meeting

You receive a no cost, no-obligation meeting with one of our financial planners. They will discuss your circumstances and objectives, as well as your attitude towards risk. Everybody’s circumstances differ and this way we can talk about where we can help you specifically.

 

DOWNLOAD OUR KEY GUIDE

You and Yours – Estate Planning


 

Kirk Rice LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (www.fca.org.uk/register). FCA Registration No: 531538.

Kirk Rice LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales (Registered Number: OC354936) and having its registered office at The Courtyard, High Street, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7HP.

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