Safeguarding your wealth for future generations! Steps to mitigate against inheritance tax…

Unforeseen life events and circumstances can potentially impact your finances in a number of ways. We can help you to safeguard your wealth for future generations. But for many of us, there can be a remarkable gap between our intentions and our actions.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) affects thousands of families every year. It comes at a time of loss and mourning and can have an impact on families with even quite modest assets – if you thought IHT was just for extremely wealthy people to worry about, think again.

TACKLING IHT SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

There are legitimate ways to mitigate against IHT, which is why it is sometimes called the ‘voluntary tax’. Unfortunately, some of the most valuable exemptions must be used seven years before your death to be fully effective, so it makes sense to consider ways to tackle IHT sooner rather than later and to seek professional financial advice.

As property prices make IHT a reality for many in the UK, we’ve looked at a number of ways to prevent HM Revenue and Customs being one of the largest beneficiaries of your estate. IHT is levied at a fixed rate of 40% on all assets worth more than £325,000 per person (the nil rate band allowance) – or £650,000 per couple if other exemptions cannot be applied.

Parents and grandparents can leave property worth up to £950,000 to their children without them having to pay IHT by fully utilising the main residence nil rate band allowances in conjunction with normal nil rate band allowances. This figure will rise to £1 million by April 2020. The current nil rate band allowance of £325,000 remains unchanged, but a relatively new tax-free band worth up to £175,000 per person on your main residence will be added to the £325,000, making it £500,000 per person from April 2020. The new tax-free main residence nil rate band was set at £125,000 in 2018, eventually rising to £175,000 in April 2020. The allowance only applies if the main residence or proceeds from your main residence are gifted to your direct descendants.

STEPS TO MITIGATE AGAINST IHT

  1. MAKE A WILL

Dying intestate (without a Will) means that you may not be making the most of the IHT exemption that exists if you wish your estate to pass to your spouse or registered civil partner. For example, if you don’t make a Will, then relatives other than your spouse or registered civil partner may be entitled to a share of your estate – and this might trigger an IHT liability.

  1. MAKE LIFETIME GIFTS

Gifts made more than seven years before the donor dies to an individual or to a bare trust are free of IHT. So, if appropriate, it could be wise to pass on some of your wealth while
you are still alive. This may reduce the value of your estate when it is assessed for IHT purposes, and there is no limit on the sums you can pass on. You can gift as much as you wish, and this is known as a ‘Potentially Exempt Transfer’ (PET). However, there is a catch: if you live for seven years after making such a gift, then it will be exempt from IHT. But should you be unfortunate enough to die within seven years, it will still be counted as part of your estate if it is above the annual gifting allowance. You need to be particularly careful if you are giving away your home to your children with conditions attached to it, or if you give it away but continue to benefit from it. This is known as a ‘Gift with Reservation of Benefit’.

  1. LEAVE A PROPORTION TO CHARITY

Being generous to your favourite charity can reduce your tax bill. If you leave at least 10% of your net estate to a charity or number of charities, then your IHT liability on the taxable portion of the estate is reduced to 36% rather than 40%.

  1. SET UP A TRUST

Family trusts can be useful as a way of reducing IHT, making provision for your children and spouse, and potentially protecting family assets and businesses. Trusts enable the donor to control who benefits (the beneficiaries) and under what circumstances, sometimes long after the donor’s death. Compare this with making a direct gift (for example, to a child), which offers no control to the donor once given. When you set up a trust, it is a legal arrangement, and you will need to appoint ‘trustees’ who are responsible for holding and managing the assets. Trustees have a responsibility to manage the trust on behalf of and in the best interest of the beneficiaries, in accordance with the trust terms. The terms will be set out in a legal document called ‘the trust deed’.

TYPES OF TRUST

There are now three main types of trust:

Bare (Absolute) trusts– with a bare trust, you name the beneficiaries at outset and these
can’t be changed. The assets, both income and capital, are immediately owned and can be taken by the beneficiary at age 18 (16 in Scotland).

Interest in possession trusts– with this type of trust, the beneficiaries have a right to all the income from the trust, but not necessarily the capital. Sometimes, a different beneficiary will get the capital – say, on the death of the income beneficiary. They’re often set up under the terms of a Will to allow a spouse to benefit from the income during their lifetime but with the capital being owned by their children. The capital is distributed on the remaining parent’s death.

Discretionary trusts– here, the trustees decide what happens to the income and capital throughout the lifetime of the trust and how it is paid out. There is usually a wide range of beneficiaries, but no specific beneficiary has the right to income from the trust.

In some scenarios trusts will now have to pay an IHT charge when they are set up, at ten-yearly intervals and even when assets are distributed.

In addition to the simple steps, there are wide range of additional steps, exemptions,. solutions, products and advice that can be used to further reduce an inheritance taxation liability long term.

THE SOONER YOU START PLANNING, THE MORE YOU CAN DO

We can work with you to ensure you make use of all the reliefs and exemptions where applicable and help you build a tailor-made succession plan based on your individual circumstances to maximise the amount that is passed to your chosen beneficiaries in the future. We can give you the peace of mind of knowing that you have laid the firmest foundations for your family’s future. Please contact us to discuss your situation.

Who are Vizion Wealth?

Our approach to financial planning is simple, our clients are our number one priority and we ensure all our advice, strategies and services are tailored to the specific individual to best meet their longer term financial goals and aspirations. We understand that everyone is unique. We understand that wealth means different things to different people and each client will require a different strategy to build wealth, use and enjoy it during their lifetimes and to protect it for family and loved ones in the future.

All of us at Vizion Wealth are committed to our client’s financial success and would like to have an opportunity to review your individual wealth goals. To find out more, get in touch with us – we very much look forward to hearing from you.

DISCLAIMER:

INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF TAXATION LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS. ANY LEVELS AND BASES, OF AND RELIEFS FROM TAXATION, ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

A PENSION IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT.

THE FUND VALUE MAY FLUCTUATE AND CAN GO DOWN, WHICH WOULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE LEVEL OF PENSION BENEFITS AVAILABLE.

PENSIONS ARE NOT NORMALLY ACCESSIBLE UNTIL AGE 55. YOUR PENSION INCOME COULD ALSO BE AFFECTED BY INTEREST RATES AT THE TIME YOU TAKE YOUR BENEFITS. THE TAX IMPLICATIONS OF PENSION WITHDRAWALS

WILL BE BASED ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, TAX LEGISLATION AND REGULATION, WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE.

THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND INCOME FROM THEM MAY GO DOWN. YOU MAY NOT GET BACK THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT INVESTED.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT A RELIABLE INDICATOR OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE.

“The information contained in this article is intended solely for information purposes only and does not constitute advice.  While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained on this article has been obtained from reliable sources, Vizion Wealth is not responsible for any errors or omissions. In no event will Vizion Wealth be liable to the reader or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information provided in this article”.

Posted by Andrew Flowers

Andrew is the managing partner of Vizion Wealth and has been involved in the offshore and onshore financial services industry for over 18 years. Andrew was the driving force behind Vizion Wealth after years of experience in a number of advisory roles within high profile wealth management, private banking and independent financial advisory firms in the UK.

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