What Will Your Legacy Be?

We tend to think of a legacy as a material possession or an accumulation of wealth that we can pass down to our children or other beneficiaries when we die. Legacy has a much broader meaning and one that might cause us to pause and think more about how we live our lives rather than worry about what happens afterwards

In this sense, we’re thinking about the things we do while we are alive and the “footprint” we leave behind.

It’s easy to think this is only achievable by those who are famous or people who have contributed to society on a large scale or in a significant way. Certainly, imagine for a moment how different the world would be without the diverse legacies of Shakespeare, Florence Nightingale, Martin Luther King or more recently Steve Jobs. They made positive contributions while they were alive and whose effects have rippled through history and will continue to do so for a very long time.

Not all legacies are positive, however. The effects of Hitler and Osama Bin Laden’s lives and actions have undoubtedly been profound and negative.

That said, a legacy doesn’t have to be on such a grand scale. We are all in a position to leave a legacy of some kind. It’s not something we generally think about, but it is entwined in the choices and actions we take in day-to-day life.

For many this will simply be living a fulfilled life, loving and teaching our children to be contributing adults so that they can grow up to live rich and satisfying lives of their own. It may be through volunteering or working with those less privileged than ourselves and inspiring others to do the same. Perhaps it could be through fundraising: moving people and organisations to give their time and money to create facilities such as hospitals or schools in faraway places or to fund research to cure diseases.

Some people create a legacy by campaigning to help others when they are faced with adversity and devastating circumstances. Trevor Lakin fought for overseas victims of terrorist attacks to receive compensation from the Government. In 2012, seven years after his son was killed in an Egyptian terror attack, the law was finally changed.

Our own Mark Roberts of Finance North sadly lost his wife Elise to cancer in 2010 and decided to start an appeal for The Christie hospital in Manchester in her memory and raised the staggering amount of £1.175 million and since then has created a national cancer charity, Challenge Cancer UK, which supports those affected by cancer.

Sometimes there’s an overlap between the two different types of legacy. People who have found success in a particular field might set up bursaries or scholarships to provide an opportunity to someone who might not otherwise be in a position to follow in their footsteps.

However, we live our lives, on a large or small scale, our legacy will be judged on the things we said and did and by the people who our lives touched. Why not think about what yours will be today?

Planning and ensuring your legacy isn’t leaving a burden on your loved ones is important for us all. Make sure you have everything in place by contacting Finance North Estate Planning Services and talking to professionals who know how to manage all circumstances and ensure you have what you need to leave your prized possessions exactly how you wish.

Jon O’Brien
Trust & Estate Planning Consultant
Finance North Estate Planning Services
The Dudson Centre, Hope Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5DD
01782 963 303, http://www.FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk

How Can Trusts Help With Inheritance Tax Burdens?

There are few taxes more unpopular than inheritance tax. A poll by the financial website, loveMONEY last year found that an incredible 90% of Brits believe it is unfair.

However, there are a number of perfectly legitimate ways to reduce the amount of tax your estate will have to pay. One of those is making use of a Trust.

What is a Trust?

A Trust is a legal arrangement where your assets – such as property, cash or investments – are given to trustees, who will oversee them for the benefit of a third person. For example, you might want to put some savings into a Trust which your children can then benefit from at a later date.

When you place items into a Trust, they technically no longer belong to you. As a result, when it comes to working out the inheritance tax due on your estate, they aren’t included.

Instead, the assets belong to the Trust. The trustees are charged with managing those assets in the interest of the beneficiaries you have named, until some time when those beneficiaries can take control.

The many different types of Trust

Trusts come in a variety of different forms, which will suit different circumstances.

The simplest form is a Bare Trust – this basically hands over ownership of the assets to the beneficiary immediately, so long as they are over the age of 18.

Alternatively, there is an Interest in Possession Trust. This gives the beneficiary income from the assets held within the Trust, but they don’t have a right to the assets generating that income. An example of this is that you might put shares in this form of Trust which would pay an income to your partner, but your children would get ownership of the shares themselves once your partner died.

Then there is the Discretionary Trust, which is where the trustees have responsibility for deciding how the assets within the Trust are distributed. You could therefore leave assets in the Trust for your grandchildren, with your children named as the trustees. They could then determine who gets what at a later date.

Dividing your assets

Trusts are a useful way to take control of passing on your assets to your loved ones and can serve as a complement to a comprehensive Will. Without a Will in place, you have no say on who will get your assets and could put your loved ones through further heartache after your passing.

To discuss your Will and estate planning needs today, speak to Finance North Estate Planning Services 0161 771 2056.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Offices in Cheshire & Staffordshire