Estate Planning, Trusts & reducing Inheritance Tax
Swindells Private is our accounting and tax team that takes care of our individual clients across Sussex & the South East. We take the time to understand you professionally and personally. This article will discuss Estate planning and the options that you have to reduce inheritance tax and plan for how your wealth is managed.
Worrying about how your family will manage after your death is a common concern. We can help reduce your worries by making sure that your wealth and assets are distributed with your family’s best interests at heart. As part of our estate planning service we also make sure that you are financially secure in later life knowing that everything has been taken care of.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the organisation of an individual’s assets and how they will be preserved, managed and distributed after death. This will ensure that the person looking after your estate will know what your wishes were. Assets might include houses, cars, stocks, life insurance, pensions and debt. The most basic step in estate planning is to write a will, however other major tasks include: Limiting estate taxes by setting up trust accounts & establishing annual gifting to family members and friends
Avoiding Inheritance Tax
Inheritance tax has been a political football for some time and poor planning can often mean HMRC is the biggest beneficiary of your estate.
Estate planning is key to avoid paying too much inheritance tax. When you review and analyse your assets early and outline your wishes you can organise them intelligently based on legislation and current tax rates which you can view here:
We can help you make the most of the various allowances and reliefs and avoid any pitfalls so that you can pass as much of your hard earned wealth as you can down to the next generation.
Ways to avoid inheritance tax:
Often thought to be the reserve of the ultra-rich or landed gentry, trusts are an excellent way of protecting and holding important family assets. The asset protection, the control, flexibility and tax efficiency are major reasons why more and more clients are using trusts as part of their planning.
A trust is a legal arrangement in which a ‘trustee’ (which may be one or more individuals, or a company) keeps assets for the benefit of a ‘beneficiary’ (usually one or more individuals). The assets may eventually pass to the beneficiary, or may be held indefinitely to provide them with a certain benefit (e.g. a place to live or an income).
Without trust funds in place your life insurance pay out is added to your estate and taxed. Our trust service helps you by being as active as you want it to be, from acting as full trustee to ad-hoc advice as and when needed.
Click here for more information on our trust services.
Gifting to family members & friends
If you can afford to make gifts, distributing money early on is a tax-efficient way of reducing inheritance tax as the overall assets you leave behind over £325,000 will be subject to inheritance tax of currently 40%.
You are permitted to make cash gifts of up to £3000 a year (any more than that will be subject to tax). There are however gifts that are exempt from tax altogether including gifts between spouses or civil partners and gifts to universities or charities.
Using a qualified and experienced Estate planning expert will give you their experience and will research your specific situation to see where you could take advantage of your personal status. For example married couples can potentially increase their threshold to double that of an individual. It’s essential to research your specific situation and take advantage, where possible, with an expert who can conduct a thorough review of your financial status.
If you would like more information on our Estate Planning & Inheritance Tax Services please get in touch with Robin Stevenson our Tax Partner using the details below:
Robin Stevenson - Tax Partner
Tel: 01825 763 366
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