Looking After Your Spouse And Heirs After You?re Gone

04.07.11

Please note that this article is over six months old. While Blevins Franks takes care to make sure that information is accurate on the date of publication, some content may change over time. You should not rely on the accuracy of legislation and tax information in this article; take professional advice for your circumstances.

Most of us want the peace of mind of knowing that our spouse/partner and children will be well looked after when we?re gone. We want them to inherit as much of our wealth as possible; to manage t

Most of us want the peace of mind of knowing that our spouse/partner and children will be well looked after when we?re gone. We want them to inherit as much of our wealth as possible; to manage their inheritance wisely and for our assets to be distributed as per our wishes.

To this end, your estate planning needs to take the following into consideration:

? What steps can you take to prevent the taxman from inheriting your assets instead of your family?

? Can you set up your assets so they are passed to your heirs exactly as you think best?

? How can the assets be passed as quickly and cheaply as possible?

? Can you retain some influence over your assets even though you are no longer around?

Trusts have been a favourite vehicle in estate planning and asset protection for centuries. Tax mitigation is often the key element in setting up an offshore trust, but they offer many other benefits for you and your family. They are very useful when it comes to the control and preservation of your wealth. Here are some examples –

Depending on your personal situation, a trust may be able to mitigate or avoid inheritance taxes.

If your spouse/partner is not confident with managing finances, you can arrange for the trustees to manage your assets and investments for them, according to your wishes.

Should you or your widow/widower become incapacitated, the trustees can coordinate protection in dealing with medical and care costs; provide financial support and manage your assets.

Trusts are particularly useful for complex family situations. If you and/or your spouse have children from a previous marriage, you can set out exactly who is to inherit your assets, at what time and in what amounts. For example, the income arising from your capital can be left to provide for your spouse with the capital ultimately passing to your children, so both are protected. You can also ensure that on the second death your assets only pass to your own children.

Where you leave assets to young people, you could arrange for them to only receive an income, and the occasional lump sum where needed, rather than transferring them full control of the assets.

Assets in a trust are protected from a beneficiary squandering money. Professional trustees take care of the interests of all the beneficiaries and are mindful of the wishes of the settlor.

Trust assets are usually protected should the beneficiary suffer a divorce or bankruptcy proceedings. For example, the assets your son inherited from you which remain in trust would not normally be included in a divorce settlement or bankruptcy proceedings.

Trusts avoid foreign succession laws, so it is entirely up to you how you divide your assets.

A trust makes life much simpler for your heirs because it removes the need for probate.

There are various types of trusts available and you need to ensure that the one you use is appropriate for your current and future situations and to fulfil your objectives. Blevins Franks has its own Trustee company so you can easily combine your estate planning with your investment management. We have specialist and up-to-date knowledge of how trusts are treated in the UK and the various countries favoured by British expatriates.

The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual must take personalised advice.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.

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