James and Jill came to us on the recommendation of another happy client. They were worried that should something happen to either of them their estate would not be distributed as they wished. This is because both had children from a previous relationship and were unmarried.
Discussing the issue had always created tension in their relationship and in the wider family. They knew however that if nothing was done, money would end up in the wrong places, HMRC would get more than their fair share and vulnerable family would not be looked after.
We understand that often these issues are sensitive and that deeply held views about assets and the future in relationships can be difficult to manage. We always use our financial life meeting to understand what the future may hold for our clients both during their lifetime and particularly after the loss of a partner. In this case we held three meetings in order to ensure complete comfort.
It became clear that we needed to ensure access to capital for a surviving partner and then create a fair strategy for how any remainder would pass to the beneficiaries, given there were many children and grandchildren to consider.
Our research involved understanding the income for the both and the value and ownership details of several properties and investments. Our calculations found an inheritance tax liability to deal with as well as an income shortfall for one of them after death. As well as this, it was important for us to recommend a strategy in the event of either partner losing their capacity to deal with financial affairs in future.
Our solution created wills for each partner which specified the end destination of assets after the second of James to Jill to die, but would ensure that each of their children and stepchildren would receive a fair amount of the estate. As well as this, we involved trust planning as part of the will, that allowed the surviving spouse on either side to have access to capital throughout their lifetime but without it being at risk of means testing for long term care. This strategy also reduced their inheritance tax situation to zero and ensured they both have plenty of income for life.
Secondly, we put into place power of attorney for both partners to ensure that their financial and health affairs could be managed, in the event that they became unable due to incapacity. This ensures that they have complete peace of mind during their lifetime and could avoid them needing to undertake a costly legal process in the future.
James and Jill can now relax and enjoy the retirement they have planned for. We look forward to helping them in the future, as and when their family situation changes such that they need financial or estate planning help.