Skipton Financial Services
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 13:17

What happens to my money should the worst happen?

It's very important to many of us that our loved ones are financially supported after we are gone. It’s not that we want to contemplate our own death, but thinking now about what we can do to ease the burden on our family, and reduce the headaches of unravelling our finances, can offer important peace of mind.

So what do you need to be thinking about?

  • Having a Will in place, and then keeping it up-to-date

With a Will things can be kept relatively simple. Without one, it can prove very complicated – as the Government will ultimately dictate how your estate is distributed, rather than you.

Your partner won’t automatically receive your assets, and if you are not married to your partner, they will receive nothing from your estate. Not having a Will could result in family members arguing over the distribution of your estate, which is not something that anybody would relish.

Although you may already have a Will, failing to keep it up-to-date could potentially cause some difficulties. Consider, for example, the huge impact of failing to include an additional child or grandchild as a beneficiary.

If you need help drawing up, or updating, your will we’re here to support you. Most wills can be drawn up without the need for a face-to-face consultation with a solicitor. We can put you in touch with *Redstone, who provide the facility to have a simple will drawn up at your own convenience; wherever and whenever you wish.

  • The thorny issue of inheritance tax

When you die, HMRC will calculate the value of your estate. Should the value of your estate fall above your nil rate band, your loved ones would face the burden of a 40% inheritance tax bill on everything you own above it.

The nil rate bands currently stand at £325,000 if you’re single or divorced, and up to £650,000, if you’re married, in a civil partnership or widowed. The Government started to gradually introduced, an additional residence nil rate band in April 2017 that, by April 2020, will be worth £175,000 per person. However, this can only be used in certain circumstances.

Your estate is made up of everything you own. Your property, and everything inside your property. Your car, your jewellery, your savings and investments (pensions are not generally included). When you total everything up, you might be surprised by the value of your estate. It’s not a static figure either, as future price rises could push you above your nil rate band, if you aren’t already.

There are ways you can tackle any inheritance tax liability your family might face, so it doesn’t reach the point of them receiving a tax bill for thousands of pounds. Professional advice is essential and can help to reduce your liability. The sooner you act the better, as many potential solutions available take several years to be fully effective.

Skipton can determine whether your family could be affected by inheritance tax in the future. If necessary, we can help you put suitable financial plans in place so you can address your potential liability. For more information on our inheritance tax planning service, please click here or call 0800 731 5342​ now to find out how we could help you.

  • Keep a clear record of your savings and investments

When you die, your family will have to register the death in order to start processing your estate. As part of this process, they will need to notify all of your savings and investment product providers. This can be a time-consuming process that takes several months, so anything you can do to ease this complication will help.

Keeping clear records of your savings and investments, in a safe place, will enable your loved ones to act quickly without undue stress and confusion. Your Will should outline who gets to receive what of your savings and investments, but make it clear who they are and how to contact them.

We offer face-to-face financial advice to help you review your savings and investments. For more information on this service, please click here or call 0800 731 5342 now to find out how we could help you.

  • Keep a clear record of your pension arrangements too

The rules for pensions are different. The pension provider will still need to be officially notified by being sent the original notification, which is why it’s a good idea to leave a record of who it is with and how to contact them.

From that point, your pension provider will write to the nominated beneficiary, explain their options (including any death benefits that are payable to nominated beneficiaries), and provide relevant forms to move forward.

The beneficiary can inherit the pension and spend it how they like. If the deceased was under the age of 75 withdrawals are tax free, however if it was after then the payments will be taxed as income.

We can review your current pensions and retirement plans, to check how financially on track you are to achieving the future you want. For more information on our retirement planning service, please click here or call 0800 731 5342 now to find out how we could help you.

Wills and some areas of Inheritance Tax (IHT) Planning are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Some IHT planning solutions put your capital at risk so you may get back less than you originally invested. IHT thresholds depend on your individual circumstances and prevailing legislation, both of which may change in the future. *Redstone Wills are members of The Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners and abides by their code of practice, copies of which can be found on the Society of Will Writers website or by writing to them at Chancery House, Whisby Way, Lincoln LN6 3LQ. Redstone Wills Limited, Windmill Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 9BY. Company no. 3673190.

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Similar insights & resources

The importance of having a Will

More than half of UK adults are failing to recognise the importance of having a Will, according to October 2015 research by Unbiased. This is despite the fact that a) it is easy to set up a basic Will, and b) not having one could have negative consequences for your loved ones.

What is Inheritance Tax?

Inheritance tax applies if the value of your estate exceeds the existing nil rate band upon your death – and everything above this will be charged at up to 40% to your loved ones.

How might your loved ones be affected by inheritance tax?

If, upon your death, your estate is liable for inheritance tax, sadly your loved ones will be unable to inherit what you’ve left behind until they’ve settled the outstanding IHT bill.