It has been said that the only certainties
in life are 'death and taxes'
We believe that whilst it is near impossible to provide a guaranteed investment return year on year, with careful financial planning it is possible to guarantee sensible tax planning measures. And with the overall tax burden growing year on year this is becoming more and more important. This may be as simple as utilising allowances each tax year or more complex income source planning.
Whether income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax or tax by any other name (national insurance, stamp duty anyone?) our role is to assist you in paying the minimum amount of tax - but fairly, within the system. We do not advocate tax evasion in any way, shape or form and have long stated that 'no client will ever be an HMRC test case'. What we mean by this is that any recommendations we make are always tried, tested and within the rules.
The one constant with tax planning seems to be change!
Contact us to discuss how we can minimise the impact of taxation on your financial future.
The final stage of the Financial timeline is the Estate Planning Phase - where you define how you will share your legacy. This means having your affairs in order and enabling your family and loved ones to make decisions on your behalf upon your death. The estate planning phase must be taken into consideration during both the accumulation and retirement phases.
The first step to establishing an estate plan is to create a will. A will is a must, no matter how many possessions you have or however simple you think your financial affairs are. The advantages are numerous, and the problems of not having one are so time consuming and costly that you should not postpone having one drawn up. Green Financial can help with the many necessary aspects of creating or reviewing your will.
You may also wish to consider a 'Lasting Power of Attorney' (LPA). This replaced the old enduring power of attorney in October 2007.
As with the old enduring power, everyone who makes a will should consider making a lasting power of attorney.
What happens when a person is no longer capable of handling or managing their own affairs?
If you are unable to look after your own affairs, and you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney, the Court of Protection will appoint a Deputy to manage your affairs for you. There will probably be significant legal fees due and the Deputy may not be aware of your personal circumstances. This could apply to anyone, at any age, by reason of illness, disability or mental impairment who may no longer be able to deal with even simple matters like handling a bank or building society account or transacting a house sale.
Unlike the old Enduring Power, which was one short document, The Lasting Power of attorney has two sections which can be made separately or together.
The Property and Affairs LPA allows you to choose a person you trust to make decisions about how to spend your money and the way your property and affairs are managed. Once registered, and unless you have put a restriction on it, this type of LPA can be used by your attorneys straight away. This effectively replaces the old Enduring Power of Attorney.
The Personal Welfare LPA which allows you to appoint somebody to look after YOU and your personal welfare and healthcare. This effectively replaces what was commonly known as the 'Living Will'.
Whenever an attorney makes a decision under an LPA, by law they must act in the best interests of the donor who has given them the power.
If you want to make plans for the future while you still have the mental capacity to handle your own affairs, creating an LPA now will allow you to choose one or more people to act as decision-makers.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be made by anyone aged 18 or over but can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Every LPA requires the signature of an approved Certificate Provider and eventual registration with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Once your assets are distributed, will your family still need financial assistance? You can ensure that your loved ones will still be provided for in the event that you suffer a serious illness that drains your financial reserves and reduces your assets. Life insurance provides income protection for a family in the event of an income earner's untimely death. You may also decide to create a trust to ensure that your funds are disbursed according to your specific wishes or you may have a family member with a disability and have growing concern about their continued welfare.
By planning ahead, you can minimise income taxes and probate fees to help lift some of the burden of that stress from your family.
Sharing your legacy may also mean arranging to continue your charitable giving after death with a fund or a trust.
When it comes to estate planning, every individual's financial goals and objectives are unique. We use our disciplined processes to determine what strategies will best suit your financial concerns and objectives. Following our guiding principles, we use a comprehensive planning approach to create an estate plan that best suits your unique situation.
You may be interested in our 'Family Values' publication. This is a personalised, bespoke document that pulls together in one place all your important data, including your financial affairs. Imagine the peace of mind that comes from knowing that in the event of your, possibly untimely, death, those that are left will be able to find everything in one place. And we can provide an online version at no cost, securely encrypted too.
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