Monday, 21 September 2015

Is the D Word the new C Word?

When I grew up the C word was something that you never mentioned, a word so dreadful that it was never mentioned. But over the years and through research and changes in society the C word became something that we are no longer afraid to talk about and recently we have reached the stage where more than 50 % people survive a cancer diagnosis.

These days C has been overtaken by D and a diagnosis of dementia is almost universally feared. At Will and Probate Services we have taken the decision to help and support those in our community who are living with dementia by offering everyone the opportunity to become a Dementia Friend by attending an Alzheimer’s Society Information session.

A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it's like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend. From helping someone to find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia on social media, every action counts.

If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend and joining a national initiative that will help people living with dementia feel included in their communities, then call us on 01778 382723, check our website or like our Will and Probate Services page on Facebook to find out about our upcoming information sessions and book you place.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Have I got a Million Pounds tax allowance?

The recent Budget introduced a new main residence allowance for Inheritance Tax (IHT)  which is due to start from April 2017.
Main Residence Relief
This led to some misleading headlines and many clients thinking that they had a £1 million Inheritance Tax Allowance – sadly, as with many things the Government announces, that’s not quite the truth.

The government's proposal is to introduce a main residence nil rate band that can be used in addition to your regular Nil Rate Band of £325,000. It only applies to your main residence at your death (although there is already a consultation in place to deal with people who may have downsized) and only then if you are passing it to a direct descendant. So if you are not a homeowner but have significant other assets the scheme probably won’t benefit you.

Key points
·         The new allowance will be an addition to the existing nil rate band will be phased in from 2017 with an allowance of £100,000 from April of that year rising to the full £175,000 by April of 2020.
·         The inheritors must be your children, step-children, or their descendants. Adopted and foster children also qualify.
·         Wealthier families will not benefit as the allowance is reduced if the net estate is over £2 million. The reduction is £1 for every £2 that the estate exceeds £2 million. So if an individual had a net estate of £2.5 million they would not benefit.

So what qualifies as your main residence?

Put simply it is your interest in a home that has been lived in as your main residence. If you have more than one residence then your executors or personal representatives can elect which one is to qualify.

Will it Happen?
The government seems committed to pushing this through and it is reasonable to assume that an additional allowance will come into place, but many commentators seem to think that the new allowance as suggested will be too complex to administer.

It has even led to suggestions that the elderly may upsize as the get older to make the most of inheritance tax allowances rather than the more traditional downsizing that we see as people age.

If you would like to know more about the changes that have been proposed, or about inheritance tax planning in general get in touch 01778 382723 or see our website 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Difficult Conversations 4. We all die. How do you want to do it?

This month’s conversation is probably the most difficult - How you want your end-of-life care handled? -  It tends to stop us in our tracks. Discussing death makes nobody comfortable, and as a result, we avoid the discussion entirely.
How will you die
We all die - you should make a plan.

You probably know someone who says that they want to be taken to Switzerland where assisted suicide is legal. It is even a hot topic in parliament at the moment, it may even be a family member. But what you don’t know is if they are serious or not – they might be but the conversation is a serious one and not one for the pub.

So make time for our fourth difficult conversation and be brave, tell your nearest and dearest what you want and what you have done to facilitate what you want.

When you have had the difficult conversation give us a call and we will make sure that you have the foundation stones in place to ensure that your death is a good death and what you want happens. We will help you with
  • ·         An up to date Will
  • ·         Valid Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • ·         An Advance Directive that sets out your medical treatment wishes

  • ·         A Funeral Plan that’s tailored for you.

Will & Probate Services – 01778 382723 –