If throughout your lifetime you have managed to accumulate assets that you will not need, or that you will not use entirely within your lifetime, then it is likely that you will want these assets to pass to your chosen beneficiaries as efficiently and safely as possible.
By understanding your current situation and your longer term wishes, we can help to make sure this is the case.
INHERITANCE TAX PLANNING
Planning ahead for after your death allows you to set out clearly who should get what from your estate. Also, you can maximise Inheritance Tax (IHT) reliefs and exemptions if your estate might be worth more than the IHT threshold. The threshold is currently set at £325,000 for each person, which means that married couples/civil partners can have a joint estate of £650,000 before any inheritance tax is payable.
In most cases tax is currently payable at 40% of everything over the tax threshold. Fortunately, if your estate is likely to be over this amount, by using some careful tax planning there are ways to minimise IHT and make sure that your beneficiaries receive the maximum benefit of your estate.
Often IHT planning involves giving away future growth, continued access to capital or even complete and outright gifts. However, as previously mentioned, it is worth remembering that you can also insure against the future tax bill.
SUCCESSION PLANNING AND TRUSTS
Even where there are no IHT liabilities, consideration of how and when your assets are passed on could still be important.
Imagine the situation where your child inherited from you only to have a business deal go wrong or to subsequently get divorced. In situations like this, any assets held in their own name could potentially be attacked. By using trusts as part of your planning you can reduce the likelihood of your assets ending up in the wrong hands.