Concerns with inheritance & succession
When you've worked hard to build financial security for you and your family, it makes sense to protect it for those times when situations arise that may be beyond your control. Protecting family wealth demands early planning and a close personal relationship with your legal advisors.
Succession planning involves more than making a Will. We can advise you on lifetime gifts, family trusts and shared business ownership, as well as any related tax issues such as inheritance tax, capital gains tax, income tax and stamp duty land tax.
For example, if you fall outside of the inheritance tax threshold, we can help you set up a trust in your Will to take advantage of tax exemptions and allowances. A trust could also be useful if you have children from a previous relationship and want to provide for them in your Will.
Our team can also arrange a Deed of Variation, diverting funds from a loved one's estate in order to help with tax planning. Finally, to offer a full package of support we can also put you in touch with independent financial advisors and accountants to advise on your wealth management.
Due to inherit funds that you don't need?
If you are due to inherit but would rather pass your inheritance directly to someone else, or to a charity, then providing that all beneficiaries agree, it is a relatively simple matter. Our team can arrange a Deed of Variation which diverts funds to an alternative beneficiary. This also helps with your own personal tax planning.
Advice to beneficiaries
If you have recently inherited wealth or assets or had a major life change such as remarrying, divorce or had a child, we would recommend you update your Will to ensure all your assets and your family are protected.
For smaller changes you could make an official alteration called a codicil which should be signed and witnessed exactly as a Will. For major changes, you really should make a new Will.
Ensuring children inherit at a certain age
UK law states that any child under the age of 18 cannot inherit their parents' estate. If you'd rather your children didn't have access to a large sum of money all at once, you can set up a Trust. A Trust is a legally binding agreement stating that another individual or individuals hold control of the funds until your beneficiary is of age to inherit.
We can establish a Trust on your behalf and register it with the HMRC. If you wish we can manage the Trust, take care of everything from tax returns to annual meetings. We can also act as trustees ourselves, dealing with every aspect of the trust administration to take the burden off you.
Problem with a Will or Inheritance
With emotions running high after the death of someone close, arguments over the Will (or lack of one) and the deceased's finances can add even more unwanted stress.
If tensions rise between executors or beneficiaries, we can help you find a route through the process. You may feel an executor has not fully complied with the deceased's wishes or has not acted in the best interests of the estate. We can help you with this.
If you feel you have not been fairly provided for, we can advise on whether you may be able to claim against the estate. We can also help with claims for breach of trust or fiduciary duty (when a trustee may have acted beyond their powers).
Changing the terms of a Will to redirect inheritance
If you are due to inherit but don't want to pay a big inheritance tax bill, a Deed of Variation allows you to divert funds directly to someone else, or to a charity. Providing that all beneficiaries agree, it is a relatively simple matter. Our team can arrange a Deed of Variation which diverts funds to an alternative beneficiary and helps with your own personal tax planning.
Our Private Wealth team can make the process of drafting a Will as easy as possible, guiding you through any technical or difficult issues with care and sensitivity.