Trust and Estate Services
Planning ahead during your lifetime means that you can ensure that your estate is distributed properly, securing your wealth during your lifetime and for future generations. At Lloyds Legal Wills & Probate, our expert advisers can also provide you with guidance on the best way to preserve your family’s wealth, such as making cash gifts during your lifetime or protecting assets in trusts. With our advice, we can ensure that your beneficiaries receive your legacy and are not subject to challenges to probate after you’ve gone.
Drawing up a Will, in conjunction with corresponding trusts, is the best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out as you intended after you’ve gone. A Will also protects your loved ones and family, and minimises the financial worry during what is an upsetting and stressful time. Dying without a Will could create a raft of problems for those left behind.
Many assume that their estate will automatically go to their closest family, but if you die ‘intestate’ (without a Will), that may not necessarily be the case. Your heirs may not receive what you wish to pass onto them, or your assets could be reduced through Inheritance Tax.
Family Trusts are lifetime discretionary trusts that are created during your lifetime or through your Will, they have significant benefits in the protection of your assets. Assets such as lifetime gifting, lump sum proceeds from life assurances, pensions and death in service benefits can all be ‘placed’ within the trust.
If any of your estate or the proceeds from any of the above are paid directly to your nominated beneficiaries, whether or not this is a spouse, partner, child or family member, then the funds they receive from you will be included with their own estate if and when they are assessed for long-term care or other state benefits.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
It is difficult to comprehend that you would ever lose the ability to manage your own affairs, but mental and physical incapacity can happen to anyone at any time. In England and Wales, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make health and financial decisions on your behalf during your lifetime.
The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called the ‘attorneys’. A LPA is a completely separate legal document to your Will, although many people put them in place at the same time as their Will being written as part of planning for the future.
There may be the misconception that by making a LPA, you are giving away control. In fact, the opposite is true. By preparing in advance of vulnerability and incapacity, you are able to detail who, how and when you want to be helped.
Without appropriate provision, unnecessary Inheritance Tax could become payable on your taxable estate that you leave behind when you pass away. Your taxable estate is made up of all the assets that you owned, the share of any assets that are jointly owned, and the share of any assets that pass automatically by survivorship. Careful planning can reduce or even eliminate the Inheritance Tax payable.
Inheritance Tax is not payable on the first part of the value of your estate, known as the ‘nil-rate band’. The nil-rate band is currently £325,000. If the total value of your estate does not exceed the nil-rate band, after taking into account outstanding debts and funeral costs, no Inheritance Tax is payable, but you should always review your position even if you believe tax will not be due on your estate.
It’s not unusual for organisations to insure company assets such as machinery, buildings and even intellectual property. And yet, very often, the most valuable business resource – the people – remain unprotected. The consequences of losing key team members through death or serious illness can be huge and, in some cases, mean the business would cease to exist.
As a business owner, what steps have you and your business partners taken to protect your business and your respective families in the event of your death, critical illness or mental/physical incapacity? Without the full and proper protection in place, you are leaving your business and your family exposed, not only to the taxman but also to potential financial disaster.
In England and Wales, probate is the legal and financial processes involved in dealing with the property, money and possessions (called the ‘assets’) of a person who has died. Before the next of kin or Executor named in your Will can carry out your wishes, they may have to apply for probate.
Lloyds Legal Wills & Probate can offer advice and support to the Executor or Administrator of the estate. Alternatively, we can be appointed by you to handle the various aspects that need to be dealt with as part of the administration.
A Property Trust can run alongside your Will and is designed to help protect your property from long-term care fee assessments, and ensures it passes to the right hands at the right time. The share (usually half) of the family home belonging to the first person to die passes into the trust.
This type of trust is also known as a ‘life interest trust’ in favour of the survivor, which means that they can benefit from the share of the house in the trust during his/her lifetime, and on their death the whole trust fund passes to others, usually children of the family.