A traditional firm with a modern approach
Estate Planning Solicitors
When you’ve spent your entire life working to build your personal wealth and provide for your family, it’s only fair that you have control over how your money and property is distributed after you die.
Most people understand the importance of making a Will to ensure their final wishes are followed after they die. However, too many people are being caught out by Inheritance Tax which, without careful planning, can eat up to 40% of your estate.
At Taylor Fordyce, our experienced and knowledgeable estate planning solicitors understand how important it is for your loved ones to be provided for after you die. We specialise in providing bespoke estate planning advice and services to help you arrange your estate as tax efficiently as possible and ensure your chosen Beneficiaries receive as much as possible.
What is the purpose of estate planning?
Estate planning refers to the process of structuring and arranging your estate to pass on your money, property, and assets to your chosen Beneficiaries after you die. This includes:
- Making a Will
- Creating trusts
- Making funeral plans
- Making a Lasting Power of Attorney to authorise someone to make financial and welfare decisions for you if you lose your mental capacity in the future
Estate planning is crucial to make your estate as tax efficient as possible and ensure your loved ones receive as much inheritance as you are able to leave them.
More than anything, estate planning gives you and your loved ones comfort knowing the future is taken care of and your money and assets preserved.
Our estate planning solicitors’ expertise
Our professional and helpful estate planning lawyers can provide you with pragmatic advice on how to structure and arrange your estate to minimise your potential for Inheritance Tax liability.
Our expertise covers everything in the area of estate planning, including:
- Making or changing a Will
- Valuing your estate, including the value of your property, personal belongings, savings, investments, and pension funds
- Inheritance Tax estate planning
- Creating, managing, and varying trust funds
Inheritance Tax estate planning
Our estate planning solicitors have years of experience helping clients plan for the future by providing professional advice on the options available to you to mitigate the potential Inheritance Tax liability your estate may face upon your death.
Inheritance Tax applies to all money, property, personal belongings, pension funds, and shares in jointly owned property which fall outside of your tax free allowance (referred to as the nil rate band or Inheritance Tax threshold).
The standard Inheritance Tax rate is 40% but the nil rate band is £325,000 so Inheritance Tax is only applied to the proportion of your estate valued above the tax free threshold.
Some options for minimising Inheritance Tax that we can discuss with you include:
Leaving your estate to your spouse or civil partner
If you leave your estate to your spouse or civil partner, you won’t incur Inheritance Tax and your unused tax-free allowance can be passed to them to aid in their own estate planning.
Residence nil rate band
In addition to nil rate band of £325,000, you can receive a further tax-free allowance of £150,000 for your main home when you leave it to a direct descendant in your Will (such as children or grandchildren). This allowance will rise to £175,000 from April 2020.
You can reduce your Inheritance Tax liability after you die by making gifts while you are alive. Gifts can include money, property, or personal belongings.
If you make gifts more than seven years before you die, you will not pay any Inheritance Tax. For gifts made 3-7 years before you die, Inheritance Tax will apply on a sliding scale of 8-40%.
You also have a tax-free gifting allowance of up to £3,000 per year, with further exemptions for gifts up to £250 per person per year and normal gifts such as birthday and Christmas presents.
We can advise you on how you can use gifts to try and reduce your Inheritance Tax liability, whether you can make use of any exemptions, and help you avoid any pitfalls associated with some gift giving, such as Capital Gains Tax.
Leaving gifts to charity
If you gift money or property to a charity while you are alive or in your Will, it will be exempt from Inheritance Tax.
You may also be able to reduce your overall rate of Inheritance Tax to 36% by leaving at least 10% of your estate (after the nil tax band and other exemptions have been applied) to charity.
Other relief and exemptions
We can provide advice on all other types of Inheritance Tax relief and exemptions, including:
- Exemptions for agricultural property, such as farms
- Exemptions for woodland property
- Business relief
Our skilled estate planning solicitors can help you create, manage, and vary trusts as part of your Will and estate planning.
Trusts are a common way for individuals to structure their estates to preserve their assets and reduce tax liability. Some other common reasons people create trusts are:
- To provide for minor children who are not yet financially independent
- To dictate how property and money should be distributed to your beneficiaries. For example, by providing for a gradual pay-out over several years rather than leaving a lump sum.
When you create a trust, you appoint one or more people, called Trustees, to hold money or property for the benefit of named Beneficiaries.
There are many types of trusts you can use to make your estate more tax efficient. We can talk you through your trust options so you can make a well-informed decision about the best way to arrange your estate to ensure your loved ones inherit as much of your estate as possible.
Why choose Taylor Fordyce for your estate planning lawyers?
When you instruct our estate planning solicitors, you can expect a service which is bespoke and highly personalised to your individual needs. We understand that estate planning can be confusing, so our advice is always practically delivered in clear, understandable English, so you can plan for the future with confidence.