We understand that clients wish to protect their assets for their families or other chosen beneficiaries. Whether you are considering how to minimise the inheritance tax which might be charged to your estate after you die or concerned about safeguarding your estate for your family’s future, the Private Client team at Stuart & Stuart can guide you to achieving those aims.
Equally, modern family dynamics mean that you might be worried about how to structure your Will to ensure that your spouse or partner is well looked after, while also safeguarding your estate for your children’s future. We can advise you on the best way to structure your Will to achieve those aims, such as including a Liferent Trust in your Will.
Trusts can also be an excellent way to ensure that an inheritance for a vulnerable family member will be protected for their benefit. Our solicitors can advise on when a Trust might be appropriate for your circumstances and how it would operate to best ensure that your assets and beneficiaries are protected. We can guide you as to the appointment of Trustees and the powers that they are to be given, for example by stating that family members might only able to access funds upon attaining a certain age or for a certain purpose.
At Stuart & Stuart, we understand the importance of planning ahead and can offer advice on how best to ensure your assets are protected.
Tax planning can be a very complicated area of law but we aim to give you clear advice which is suited to your circumstances and objectives. Inheritance tax, in particular, is becoming increasingly complex and it is helpful to have a solicitor discuss your assets with you and explain how inheritance tax will impact on your estate.
The starting point is that inheritance tax is charged on death at a rate of 40%, but only if your estate exceeds a certain threshold. Lifetime gifts can be clawed back into your estate for the assessment of inheritance tax, so it might not just be the assets you own when you die which needs to be considered.
The threshold for payment of Inheritance Tax is currently £325,000. Even then, if you leave your estate to your spouse or to a charity, there will be no inheritance tax to pay at that point (unless your husband or wife is not treated as having a UK domicile when you die).
Furthermore, there are several reliefs and an additional nil rate band, which, if available to your estate, can substantially reduce how much inherence tax is due.
Most recently, in 2017, the Government introduced an additional nil rate band, known as the Residence Nil Rate Band. Not every estate will benefit from the Residence Nil Rate band as there are very strict and complicated rules which will determine whether or not your estate will benefit from it. In very simple terms, the Residence Nil Rate Band applies if you have an interest in a residential property you have lived in and it is passed to your direct descendants, provided that your total estate does not exceed a certain sum. For 2018/2019, the Residence Nil Rate Band is £125,000 but this is set to increase over the next two years. The rules around qualifying for this are intricate and it is helpful to speak to a solicitor to determine how this may apply to you.
The Private Client team at Stuart & Stuart will be able to guide you as to what nil rate bands and reliefs might be available to your estate and to give you an estimate of the inheritance tax which might become due on your death. We will then advise about any actions you can take to try to minimise the inheritance tax which could apply to your estate, such as making gifts or amending the terms of your Will to ensure it is as tax efficient as possible.
Our specialist advisors can also help to try mitigate inheritance tax on an estate even after a person dies, using Deeds of Variation to redirect inheritances in a more tax efficient manner.
CONTACT OUR ASSET PROTECTION SOLICITORS IN EDINBURGH, BONNYRIGG AND PENICUIK
At Stuart & Stuart, we know everything there is to know about asset protection. It is important to plan ahead in these matters and our private client practice in Edinburgh, Bonnyrigg and Penicuik has a wealth of expertise to lead you through this process.