Wills, power of attorney and inheritance tax can be difficult subjects to discuss when you or your loved ones are ill.
These issues always arise at the times when they’re hardest to think about. So the best time to think about them is now.
Alarmingly, a large percentage of the population has neither a will nor lasting power of attorney. Unless they have considered the intestacy laws and are happy with the arrangements they would provide, everyone should have a will.
The way a will is worded can have a huge effect on Inheritance Tax - only a small change in wording can make a huge difference to Inheritance Tax liability.
This is the reason solicitors sometimes offer advice around Inheritance Tax. But if you are receiving advice from anyone, it’s important to find out their exact qualifications and experience with respect to Inheritance Tax.
Consider the following example:
One of our clients was persuaded by a large bank that they should undertake Inheritance Tax and Will planning with their recommended panel of accountants and solicitors. He was recommended some ‘off the shelf’ schemes and was charged in excess of £10,000 for their advice.
Before a follow-up meeting to discuss the plan he should use, the client realised that we gave Inheritance Tax advice, and asked us to attend the meeting with him to ensure he was being given the correct advice. At the panel’s suggestion we arrived an hour before the client so they could bring us up to speed.
After 45 minutes they had explained the schemes and we had clarified several points about the client’s affairs. At this point we asked the panel what the client’s Inheritance Tax liability would be if he were to do nothing. There was much shuffling of feet and an awkward silence, and eventually a member of the panel volunteered that they simply hadn’t done the calculation. We then discussed the client’s potential liability and the reliefs available and the panel realised that the client had no tax liability at all.
Our client did not require any tax planning at that time, and as a result we saved him over £10,000.
The moral of the story is this: before you start considering tax planning you need to be aware of your current liability.
Our IHT REVIEW will help you to do this. We tell you your likely Inheritance Tax liability if you were to die at the date of review, and our report provides you with basic tax planning suggestions. From there, you can determine the need to carry out further tax planning.
One of our Inheritance Tax specialists will discuss the report with you in depth and explain its assumptions. And after you’ve had the opportunity to consider its implications, they will explain any subsequent steps you need to take.