James and Jill came to us on the recommendation of another happy client. They were worried that their estate would not be distributed as they wished should the worst happen. Being unmarried with children from previous relationships, their situation was fairly complex.
Discussing the issue had always created tension in their relationship and in the wider family. They knew that if nothing was done they could pay more tax than necessary, with vulnerable family members losing out on future inheritance.
We understand that issues such as passing on your assets can be sensitive and that in many relationships, deeply held views of ‘who should get what’ can be difficult to manage. We used our financial life meeting to understand what the future may hold and lay out the benefits and drawbacks of different actions. 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 how their income situation would be affected after the loss of each partner. This was particularly complex given the varying 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. We have ensured that each of their children and stepchildren are to receive a fair amount of the estate. As well as this we included trust planning within the will. This allows the surviving spouse to have access to capital throughout their lifetime but without the risk means testing for long term care. This strategy has reduced their inheritance tax situation to zero and secured more than adequate income for life.
Secondly, we put into place power of attorney for each of them. This will ensure that financial and health decisions can be made quickly, easily and as per their wishes in the event of any loss of capacity. This has given peace of mind during their lifetime they won’t to undertake a costly legal process in order to look after each other.
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.