MAKING PLANS TODAY FOR TOMORROW

Why risk everything you’ve worked for?

Most good chess players rely on having a strong strategy in place to increase their chances of beating their opponent and winning the tournament. In life, the same rules apply and those who take the time to plan ahead succeed. All your hard earned assets could be lost if you don’t make the time today to put some simple planning in place.

Wills – Many people put off making a Will for a variety of reasons, but the harsh truth is that you can put off making a Will until it’s too late, causing all kinds of problems for the people you leave behind and end up giving some, or all of your inheritance, to the wrong people or even the State!

Trusts – Using Trusts are an important part of any estate planning strategy and not only for the very wealthy if you want to protect your hard earned assets after you are gone, for future generations against attack from, Remarriage, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Long Term Care and Inheritance Tax.

Lasting Powers of Attorney – Managing your own affairs can be difficult later in life, or you could become seriously ill or even have an accident. Who would look after your financial affairs then? Who would make decisions for you regarding your medical treatment, living arrangements or care? Creating Lasting Powers of Attorney in advance, ensures that if the worst were to happen both your financial affairs and personal welfare are in safe hands.

Funeral Plans – Free your loved ones from the financial and emotional burdens of paying for and organising your Funeral after you are gone. Act now to ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you would want, and also freeze the cost of your funeral at todays prices.

Probate – Many people choose relatives or close friends as their Executors but this can be a difficult and time consuming job, at a time when they may not feel up to the task. Appointing a professional Executor in your Will ensures that your estate is dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. Fixed costs at the outset, along with a dedicated team of sympathetic and expert case handlers on hand ensures that the entire process is stress free.

Prepare for the game ahead with us and ensure that you and your loved ones are protected, for more information please call us on 0161 771 2056 or email us at help@FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk, or simply enter your details below and one of our consultants will contact you.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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Making Sense of Wills – The Jargon

When it comes to sorting out a Will, there’s an awful lot of jargon to try to make sense of. Here are some of the most common terms you’ll come across, and what they really mean.

  • Assets: These are the valuable items you own and cover your possessions, property, cash, etc.
  • Attestation: This is the signing and witnessing of a will.
  • Beneficiary: This is a person or organisation to whom you leave something in your Will.
  • Bequest: This is the term for a gift that you have left to someone in your Will. There are several different kinds, for example a specific bequest is a particular named item, such as a piece of furniture or jewellery.
  • Capital Gains Tax: Changing a solely owned property to Tenantsin Common is a transfer of equity from the sole owner. Technically they are gifting an asset which could give rise to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). However their is a releif against CGT if the property is the main residence. Additionally CGT is not applicable for transfers between spouses.
  • Codicil: This is a document that can be used to change a Will which has already been written.
  • Crown: This is essentially the Government and it is where your money will go if you die without writing a Will.
  • Estate: This is the total of your assets minus the value of any liabilities you owe.
  • Executor: When you write a Will, you need to name an executor. This is the person who is responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out.
  • Family Interest in Possession Trust: This is for a married couple with an estate value in excess of two “Nil Rate Bands” and benefits from “Spousal Exemption”.
  • Family Probate Preservation Plus Trust: This is used where you wish to pass all or part of your main residence to be controlled and managed by Trustees whilst you are still alive. This requires a Conveyance transferring the asset to the Trustees.
  • Family Probate Trust: This is a discretionary trust with the main feature being that the Settlor can also be a potential beneficiary.
  • Family Trust: To protect the inheritance from various threats rather than the Will directing the assets absolutely to the beneficiaries it is best to direct these assets via a Family Trust. this is a Discretionary Trust where the Trustees decide who and by how much the beneficiaries benefit.
  • Guardian: A person who is responsible for children until they reach the age of 18.
  • Inheritance Tax: This is a tax which is paid on the portion of your estate which is above the nil-rate threshold. Currently, this stands at £325,000 for individuals, though you can now pass on a further £100,000 (rising to £175,000 by 2020) if you are leaving your primary residence to family.
  • Intestate: This is when someone dies without leaving a Will.
  • Legacy: This is another word for a gift or bequest left in your Will.
  • Mirror Will: As a couple it is very common that the content of each individual’s Will mirrors the other.
  • Probate: This proves the Will is valid and gives the executor the authority to administer the estate.
  • Residue: This is the word for what is left of your estate after debts, taxes and certain bequests have been handed out to beneficiaries.
  • Severance of Tenancy: Most couples own their property as “Joint Tenants” which means that on death of one of them, the property passes to the survivor automatically. It will not pass according to your Will. This is similar to how most joint bank accounts and other jointly owned assets are held. By severing the tenancy of a joint property, it is declared that the owners in fact each own a proportion of the property which their wills can direct accordingly on their death. The ownership of the property when this is done is called “Tenants in Common”.
  • Testator: This is the name for the person who has made a Will
  • Trust: You can set up a trust to administer some of your assets after you die.
  • Trustees: These are the people that manage a trust.
  • Witness: A Will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who also need to sign the Will.

If you need to speak to a qualified professional about writing a Will or if you have a Will already and not sure if it’s achieving what you need it to, please contact Finance North Estate Planning Services today, on 01782 963 303 or email help@FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Offices in Cheshire and Staffordshsire
Home Visits Available Day Time and Evening

3 Mistakes That Make A Will Invalid

Writing a Will is an extremely important thing to do, as it gives you certainty over exactly what happens with your assets after you pass away. It’s also just as crucial that the Will you write is valid – otherwise your wishes will not be carried out.

What are the common mistakes that you must avoid in order to make a valid Will?

  • Signing the Will

It is a requirement that you sign your Will and this has to be done in front of witnesses. You can even get someone to sign the Will on your behalf, so long as you are in the room and it’s signed at your direction. This applies for people who are blind, illiterate or who may be too unwell to sign the Will themselves. If the Will is signed on your behalf, then it must contain a clause clarifying that you understood the contents before you signed.

If you have a serious illness or have been diagnosed with dementia, then you need to have ‘testamentary capacity’ – essentially, the mental capacity to make a Will. For this you will need a medical practitioner’s statement at the time the Will is signed.

  • Witnesses must be present

A Will also needs to be signed by two witnesses who need to be present when you sign the document.

They cannot sign the Will at a later date, or else the Will may be invalid.

  • Witnesses cannot be beneficiaries

The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the Will – nor can their spouse or civil partner. If anything is left to the witnesses, they will lose entitlement to whatever you had planned to leave them.

The executor of the Will can be a witness, so long as they are not also a beneficiary.

Here at Finance North Estate Planning Services we have drafted many many Wills, and are very knowledgably on how to avoid the common pitfalls. If you’re interested in writing a Will or are looking to update your current one, speak to the team on 01782 963 303 or email help@FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk.

How to prevent things going wrong with your Lasting Power of Attorney

With dementia continuing to rise, the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) cannot be overstated. An LPA can be a vital tool, giving a friend, loved one or solicitor the power to make decisions on your behalf should you reach a position where you are unable to.

Safeguards are built into them to ensure they are used appropriately, but there are steps you can take to ensure things do not go wrong.

Choose the right attorney

If you want to prevent any future issues with an LPA, then choosing the right attorney at the outset is crucial. There are many duties involved in acting as an attorney for someone, so you need to pick someone responsible and organised, as well as someone who knows you well and can be trusted to act in your best interests.

You may want to select more than one attorney – this will make abuse of the powers associated with an LPA much harder.

If you do choose more than one attorney, you can set out whether they need to act together or separately for certain issues.

Informing loved ones

One important safeguard is the fact that the ‘donor’ (the person handing over their powers to their attorney) can name up to five people who must be informed before the LPA is registered. It’s important to do this – these loved ones can then step in and dispute the registration, should they believe that the donor was put under undue pressure or the attorney is set to behave in an inappropriate way

It’s a good idea to speak to your friends and loved ones who aren’t named on the document in advance of organising an LPA too. You can explain why you are doing it and how you want the powers to be used – this can help reduce the chances of fraud and should also reduce the chances of conflict between family members later on.

Guidance

Another safeguard is the ability for donors to have certain guidance for the attorney written into the LPA. For example, this may suggest that they meet a couple of times a year to go through bank details and discuss financial arrangements for the next six months. This should also make it harder for any fraud to take place.

Organising an LPA can give you peace of mind that you will have someone you trust making decisions for you, should you lose the ability to do so.

Choosing the right attorney, and getting the right LPA in place, can take some time, but it is time well spent.

If you’re struggling to choose an LPA or would like advice on how to appoint one, feel free to get in touch with us at Finance North Estate Planning Services on one of the numbers below.

Cheshire Office: 0161 771 2056 or Staffordshire Office: 01782 963 303

Or simply complete you details below and one of our consultants will call you back.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Pole Farm Cottage, Pole Lane, Antrobus, Cheshire, CW9 6NN
The Dudson Centre, Hope Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5DD

www.FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk

How wealthy families keep their wealth.

David Cameron’s father’s will makes interesting reading.

He left a fortune of £2,740,000 from which the ex-Prime Minister received the sum of £300,000, but what is interesting is that:-

  • He appointed his children as Executors and Trustees.
  • He and his wife owned their home as Tenants in Common rather than joint owners.
  • His half of the home went into Trust rather than directly to his widow.

 

Cameron Will

 

Trusts have been instrumental in mitigating tax since the Medieval times. Trusts were initially created for the Nobility and wealthy landowners to avoid paying taxes to the Crown. Nowadays, you don’t have to be a Nobleman, or a wealthy landowner to want to take advantage of the many tax strategies Trusts can provide.

The use of Trusts ensures that assets are protected from attack from the following.

  • Care Fees
  • Divorce / Separation
  • Creditors / Bankruptcy
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Generational Inheritance Tax

We have advised many clients from all walks of life in protecting their homes and other assets, so that their children and grandchildren can maximise their inheritance, and we have now launched a fixed price package to specifically tackle the above problems at an affordable price for all home owners and from all walks of life.

Firstly you will receive a free no obligation home visit from one of our trained consultants which usually takes about 1hr where you can ask any questions and discuss the matter in more detail.

Once you have decided to proceed we will take all the necessary instructions and then commence constructing a Will each, a Flexible Family Trust each with Memorandum of Wishes and also a Deed of Severance. Within approximately 2 weeks your consultant will return with all the documents for signing.

 

PPT

On first death, the deceased’s share of the property is passed into their Flexible Family Trust via the Will. The surviving Spouse or Partner continues to live in the property and is still able to move home if they choose to do so. In the event that the survivor enters care, the survivor only owns half a share of the family home.

The beneficiaries have access to the Trust Funds but we ensure that these assets do not enter their estates and so are protected from attack by the following:

  • Marriage after Death – Placing half of the family home and other assets into a Trust on first death ensures that, should the surviving spouse or partner marry in the future, those assets cannot be taken into the marriage and removes the threat of your children being disinherited.
  • Divorce – Placing your assets into a trust ensures if your children or chosen beneficiaries are subject to a divorce then what you intended them to receive is protected from any divorce settlements.
  • Creditors – Similarly if any of your beneficiaries are subject to Creditor claims or bankruptcy then their inheritance would not be exposed to these claims.
  • Care Costs – The trust ensures that they do not add onto the beneficiaries own estates and so cannot be assessed for their care costs.
  • Further or Generational IHT – Holding the assets in the trust ensures that they do not add to the beneficiaries estates and impact on their own Inheritance Tax.

For more information, please call 0161 771 2056 or simply complete the form below
and one of our consultants will gladly answer any questions you may have.

Finance North
Estate Planning Services
Offices in Cheshire and Staffordshire

www.FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk

 

 

 

It’s a fact, Parents of Young Children Need a Will

A Will can offer you the peace of mind in knowing that your children will grow up in a stable, loving and safe environment. A Will allows parents to make their own decisions as to who will look after the children if you are gone.

If you fail to appoint Guardians in a Will and your children are orphaned before they reach 18, the courts will appoint Guardians instead, but they won’t necessarily choose the people that you would have preferred to take care of your children.

So, what happens if you fail to name a guardian for your children?

If no Guardian is named, the situation is likely to resolve in one of three ways:

  • If no Guardian is named, your children could be placed under the protection of Social Services;
  • If several potential Guardians come forward, a custody battle could result and the courts will grant custody of the child to the applicant who the judge deems most appropriate;
  • If a single Guardian comes forward, they must apply to the courts for formal custody.

In each of these circumstances, it is the family courts, and not the parents, who control custody of the children.

Without a Will, blood relations are more likely to be appointed custody than other applicants. Despite this, don’t assume that your family members will be automatically appointed by the courts to be Guardians. Being a blood relation is only one of several factors that are taken into consideration.

A professionally constructed Will allows you to prevent all this disorder and anguish at a time that your children need loving care and stability in the event of your death.

A Will also enables you to create a trust that can be used for some of the costs that a Guardian will face after taking custody for example, for healthcare, education, holidays etc.

Book your Will today call: 0161 771 2056 and if you have children under 4yrs of age, claim your free life cover below.

For a limited time, our sister company at Finance North in association with Aviva are offering £15,000 FREE life cover for parents! Cover can be taken at any time once the child has been born and before they are four years old and cover will last for one year from acceptance.

In addition, mum AND dad can apply for £15,000 each… so that’s £30,000 of cover per child…FREE.

Peace of mind is just a phone call away

Cheshire Office: 0161 771 2056 – Staffordshire Office: 01782 963 303

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