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Webinar: Life planning – protecting your estate in times of uncertainty

Following our recent ‘life planning’ webinar, Louise Igoe, head of Lodders’ Private Client department, outlines the steps you need to take protect your wealth and your family through estate planning.

 The coronavirus lockdown has prompted many people to think about their estate planning and how best they can protect their wealth and their families.

Our latest webinar brought together expert speakers from our Private Client and Family Law teams to provide advice and insights into this important area.

Watch the webinar now:

Why do you need to protect an estate?

Effective estate planning and the use of specialist trusts enables you to make the best use of inheritance and income tax allowances.

There are many reasons you may need to protect assets, for example from divorce or relationship breakdown.  Protecting minor beneficiaries is essential, and you should consider the ability of any vulnerable adult beneficiaries to look after an inheritance.

It is also important to protect farms and businesses to ensure they stay within the family, with the right people running them.

How can you protect your estate?

One way to protect your estate is through your will. Parents often wish to provide for a child in their will, but in a way that preserves the inheritance should that child go through a divorce in the future.

You could leave an outright gift to the child and hope for the best.  This is a simple option, but not ideal!

If divorce proceedings are underway, you could make a new will, cutting that child out altogether.  You would then rely on leaving separate instructions to transfer a portion of your estate once the divorce is finalised.  Another simple solution on the face of it, but there are complications that can arise.

The most viable option is to set up a trust in your will. This doesn’t offer guaranteed protection against an inheritance being at risk during a divorce, but is a reliable safeguard.

Trusts are also valuable when it comes to bloodline planning, and passing assets down to children and grandchildren.

As an alternative, you can think about lifetime planning and making gifts and loans.  These could enable a child or grandchild to put down a deposit on a house or pay school fees.  Gifts are often more beneficial from an inheritance tax perspective.  Loans may offer better overall protection to your estate.  Depending on your circumstances, a combination of both may be best.

Structuring farming and other businesses is also a form of estate planning.  Should you allow the next generation to get involved?  How should you share the income?  Do you have the correct partnership agreement in place? You may need to take advice on shareholders agreements, voting rights, and alphabet shares.

Know your options

Will planning, trusts in wills, gifts, loans, and business planning are all viable options. You must think carefully about the assets you have, and where you want them to go.  Is tax efficiency your most important aim?  Or do you have vulnerable beneficiaries?  Are you worried about care fees?  Or is there a relationship breakdown you need to factor in to your plans?

At Lodders, we can build tailored strategies that address your specific concerns. In all aspects of estate planning, we provide detailed advice on how to calculate the risk and then mitigate its effects.

More information

For more information on Lodders Private Client and Family Law services, please contact John Rouse on 01789 206167, or via email, or Beverley Morris on 0121 200 0890 or via email.

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For more information on Lodders Private Client and Family Law services, please contact John Rouse on 01789 206167, or via email, or Beverley Morris on 0121 200 0890 or via email.