GPW Trusts is dedicated to protecting you, your family and your estate. Specialising in Wills and Trusts, Probate, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Long Term Care Fee and Inheritance Tax Mitigation.
What if I die without making a Will?
Death is such a taboo subject that it's not surprising that over 70% of us risk bequeathing costly confusion to our nearest and dearest by not making a Will.
Most people at some time in their lives consider putting their affairs in order, but the thought often passes without further action.
There are of course the normal excuses of 'we're too busy', or 'I don't plan on dying just yet!' But we find for many people, the reason they had not got around to making a Will, is because they were not aware of the severe consequences to their family if anything was to happen to them, as they had just assumed that everything would be OK.
If you care about who inherits your estate, and you want everything to be 'OK', then you need an up to date professionally drafted Will.
Laws of Intestacy
If you die without a Will, then the Government will decide who will inherit your estate in accordance with the Laws of Intestacy. These were originally drawn up in the 1920’s and are now somewhat out of date even after being revised in 2014! However, these laws state that your spouse may end up sharing your estate with your children. Or if you are an unmarried couple, then your partner may not get anything.
If you do not make provision for young children, then the authorities will decide who is best placed to look after them, which may be hugely upsetting and disruptive. It can also mean that your partner (if you are not married) does not automatically become guardian of young children, even if they may be the father!
If you die without making a Will, your ex-spouse may be entitled to claim part or all of your estate in certain circumstances! Even if your ex-spouse cannot make a claim, your children's trust fund may fall under their control!
The correct Will can allow you to:
Specify whom you wish to inherit your estate, in what order and in what proportions giving you comfort in the knowledge that your wishes will be carried out.
Make specific legacies to family or friends or gifts to your favourite charities.
Appoint suitable guardians for young children rather than leaving the decision to the Courts.
Set up maintenance trusts for children to protect their inheritance until an age specified by you.
Ensure the inheritance of your children or other beneficiaries should the survivor re-marry.
Protect your share of the property from having to be sold to pay for the survivors’ future care fees, thus still having assets to leave to your family.
Avoid paying 40% Inheritance Tax on your estate, so giving more to your chosen beneficiaries rather than the Government.
Amending an existing Will
If you already have a Will, it is recommended that you review it every 2 to 5 years. Sometimes your wishes may not have changed, but the value of your assets and the law may have. As such it is very important to ensure that your Will does exactly what you want it to do; that it protects your assets and investments, and most importantly that you have taken advantage of various areas of flexibility within the law of estate planning.
If your ORIGINAL will cannot be found when it is needed, then you will be considered to have died intestate. The solution is to have your Will stored in a secure place, safe against loss, damage, fire or theft, and retain a copy at home.
After all, a damaged Will is effectively invalid and treated as if it didn’t exist. Undoing all the planning you've put in place.
At GPW Trusts our Secure Storage facility is backed up by a digital scanned copy available for immediate recovery should the original be lost or damaged. We also keep off site digital scanned copies just in case!
We believe this combination of registration with physical and digital storage provides you with the best possible peace of mind that your Will can be accessed when needed, and submitted unaltered to probate, protecting your beneficiaries and ensuring your last wishes are respected.
40% of valid Wills go missing so storing securely is essential.
Trusts are not just for the rich and famous!
A trust is a very flexible legal document that can have so many different benefits. There are trusts that can be set up in your lifetime or trusts that are part of your Will.
So why use a trust?
Protects your inheritance if your beneficiary gets divorced
Protects a disabled beneficiary
Protects your children's inheritance if your spouse re-marries
All these unfortunate events happen every day in the UK. A simple value for money trust can stop this from happening. As you’ve spent your whole life building your estate, why let it all go to the wrong people, for want of a little planning?
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) enable you to legally empower people you trust, (say, family and friends) to manage your affairs at times when you are unable to do so, or simply don’t feel up to it.
Usually when a person has lost mental capacity, relatives who are simply trying to help, will find themselves shut out by many institutions including banks, pension providers and utility companies.
A husband or wife can even find themselves locked out of a joint account, if their spouse has lost capacity!
What are Lasting Powers of Attorney documents?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) documents should be viewed as an insurance policy you can take out should sometime in the future you suffer a problem leaving you unable to look after yourself.
They have to be written before any problem arises though - like insurance, you can't buy it to cover you for a problem which has already happened.
It's never too early to have these documents but it can often be too late.
These documents allow you to appoint people you trust, such as members of your family or friends, who can step in and make decisions on your behalf. These trusted people become your "attorneys".
What options are available?
There are two Lasting Powers of Attorney documents available to you:
Property & Finance covers all affairs concerning your property(ies) and your finances. This can be set up to take effect immediately or only when physical/mental capacity is lost.
Health & Welfare allows your attorneys to make decisions relating to your personal welfare and even healthcare when you can't make decisions for yourself. It allows you to empower your attorneys to make decisions for vital subjects such as life-sustaining treatment. It also allows for less critical situations such as making decisions about diet, where to live etc.
These are far more flexible than the old Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) documents. Please contact APS to discuss how a Lasting Power of Attorney can be of benefit to you, or to find out what extra benefits a Lasting Powers of Attorney can provide over an EPA.
What happens if I haven’t got an LPA?
If you lose mental capacity and have NOT made an LPA, the only option for your relatives is to apply to the Court of Protection.
This is a costly, time consuming and fairly unpleasant procedure.
It’s likely to take up to a year and cost £3,000-£4,500 with additional annual fees as well! Acting now is a fraction of the cost and virtually hassle free. Just call us today to make an appointment.
Long Term Care
People are very worried about the issue of paying for Long Term Care. It is very easy to bury our heads in the sand with regards to this issue, as we all like to think that it will never happen to us. But everyone seems to know or have heard of people who have had to sell their home in order to pay for their care, but don't quite know why or how they can avoid the same thing happening to themselves.
We all need to plan more carefully for our future, if we wish our beneficiaries to inherit what we feel is rightfully theirs.
The sad fact is that you've worked hard for years to provide a valuable asset to pass on to your loved ones, but your home may be under real threat if you later require long-term residential or personal care.
Think it won't happen to you?
Sadly, up to one in three women and one in five men will need formal care during their lifetime. There are more than 500,000 people living in residential care. And with a growing population of elderly the figure is rising! It is upsetting for widows and widowers, who together had worked so hard for the family home they intended to leave to their children, suddenly losing the family home to pay £30,000-£40,000 a year care costs.
There is a solution!
But YOU can avoid this happening by organising your affairs effectively with THE PROTECTIVE PROPERTY TRUST WILL. This quite simply is designed to protect the value of the share of the deceased partner in the property, from being used to pay the care bills of the surviving partner if they require permanent residential care. It also allows the surviving partner all the benefits of occupation or to move to a different property and will prevent the deceased partner's share in the property being inherited by a second husband or wife. Ultimately, it leaves your share of the home to pass to your loved ones in the fullness of time.
If you have no hesitation in having building insurance for your family home, then you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to also protect your home against the Community Care Act 1990.
Inheritance tax is a tax which is paid on the value of all you own when you die.
It’s actually a voluntary tax, but £3.8 billion was paid in inheritance tax to the UK Government in 2014.
Don’t let your hard-earned assets go needlessly into the government coffers!
The threshold above which you must pay 40% tax is currently £325,000 (fixed until 2020) or £650,000 for a married couple in certain situations.
If you are concerned about your own inheritance tax liability or that of your beneficiaries or you’ve just inherited assets which now give YOU an inheritance tax burden, then call me. There are some excellent options and solutions available to you.
Unmarried couples - please read this!
Unmarried couples cannot combine the Nil Rate Bands rates of £325,000. Therefore, both are vulnerable to inheritance tax at 40%
What can be done?
If you are an unmarried couple, or for complex family reasons giving everything to each other isn't what you want to achieve in your Wills, I can advise you on how best to save you from paying inheritance tax through the provision of a special inheritance tax saving Will.
Please contact me to make an appointment where we can discuss your personal situation in detail and provide you with unbiased impartial advice.
If a person dies with a valid will in place, they will have named one or more people, known as executors, to administer the probate process on their estate.
Sometimes the process is straightforward and can be carried out by non-professionals. There are many situations however, where a professional is more suited to carry out the probate process including when the:
executor(s) simply doesn’t have time to do the work
executor(s) is too emotional or doesn’t feel up to it at the time
estate needs to pay Inheritance Tax
Will has created one or more trusts
Will is ambiguous and not clear on its meaning
How much will it cost?
Most banks and solicitors charge anywhere between 3%-6% of the estate (regardless of how much work is involved) plus hourly fees meaning the total bill can spiral out of control. That equates to over £18,000 for an estate valued at £300,000 - Ouch!
If a bank or solicitor has prepared your will for you (usually free of charge) there is a good chance you will have appointed themselves as professional executors or that they are holding your Will in storage.
If they have ...did they tell you how much they charge for probate fees? ... I bet they didn't did they?
This unfortunately means that they can charge whatever they like to administer your estate when you die, because you're not around the question it!!
If a bank or solicitor has prepared your will please contact me and I will clarify your situation and advise you of your options.
I will give an upfront, guaranteed quote prepared during a home visit and will leave you in peace to decide whether you wish to use my services.
My fixed fee quote (based on actual amount of work involved) will usually equate to between 1.5%-1.75% for comparison purposes. Remember we do not charge an additional hourly fee.
Working with a team of experienced specialists, I can carry out the whole probate process from start to finish. Let me remove the strain from you at such a difficult time.
The role of an executor
The moment the Testator dies, the role of the Executor(s) begins and there are some very important initial duties:
Securing the assets. They are now legally responsible for the assets of the Testator and may need to secure the property and belongings e.g. change the locks on the property, switch off utilities etc.
Insure the assets. They must ensure that the house and contents are insured.
Arrange the funeral, which is an Executor duty, but normally involves the family.
Assess the death estate assets & liabilities.
Calculate whether there is an Inheritance Tax Liability, complete the relative forms, agree with HMRC and arrange to pay HMRC.
Arrange for the Grant of Probate, which gives legal authority to the executors to deal with the Estate.
Gather together all assets.
Pay debts and liabilities.
Complete Estate Accounts.
Distribute the estate according to the Will.
Business Will Trusts & Director Protection
Don’t let your business die with you!
If you are the sole director or your company has multiple directors, have you stopped to consider what would happen if you or one of your fellow directors died or lost mental capacity (through a stroke for example)?
How long would your company survive? Who would look after your spouse and family?
Your spouse may inherit the shares, but would they not want their financial value to live on instead? Can the other directors afford to buy back your spouse’s shares? Would inheritance tax be due if the shares were purchased by the remaining directors?
If you haven’t made adequate provision, please call me for a free consultation, after all, these strategies are all tax deductible!
Don’t let your business die with you! Wouldn't that be a total waste!
By pre-purchasing a funeral plan, the funeral director's costs are frozen at today's prices rather than those at the time of your passing. Also, you have the opportunity to part, or fully plan the occasion. It’s not a morbid exercise. One way or another, everyone pays the cost of their own funeral.
For those who die without a funeral plan in place,
1. The cost of the funeral is deducted from their estate's value before it can be distributed to the beneficiaries.
2. This cost initially comes out of the pocket of a relative until the executor of the estate can access the deceased bank accounts.
3. Relatives have to plan a ceremony at short notice whilst being in an emotional and fragile state.
With this in mind it is obvious that buying a plan of your choice which allows you to record all of your wishes is a better option.
A Smart Investment...!
By purchasing a funeral plan, not only are you removing a huge burden from your loved ones, you will also make substantial savings.
The average cost of a funeral rose by 60% from 2004-2011 (Mintel 2011), and the costs will just keep going up. I work with funeral plan provider Golden Leaves Ltd, the largest representative of independent funeral directors in the country.
Golden Leaves Limited has been at the forefront of the funeral planning industry for over 28 years. I am trained in all aspects of funeral plans and will carry out the entire process in the comfort of your own home.
Give me a ring or fill in the contact form below and let’s arrange a convenient time for me to visit you.
Speaking for Groups
Need a speaker for your next business or social group gathering?
Entertaining, informative and dare I say humorous presentations and speeches. The subject of Wills, Trusts and Inheritance tax planning most definitely isn’t boring and stuffy when Gavin makes a speech!
To download my speaker sheet (pdf format) which outlines some of my talk content, just click here.
Gavin On The Radio!
I’ve been a guest on business program shows for local radio Calon FM. Just click below to hear the shows.
"I met Gavin when attending Ray McLennan's event, Raising Angel Finance. Gavin was one of the keynote speakers there. Immediately he struck me as a very competent and knowledgeable professional who has great insight into tax and inheritance-related issues. He makes any complicated tax issue simple.
That day, any question that came from the audience of business investors and property investors (a very entrepreneurial and success-minded bunch) was addressed fully and with great accuracy. I think that Gavin's background in customer-focused roles has helped him to not only communicate effectively but also gave him an understanding of how to deal with various predicaments people face on daily bases.
Gavin is professional, approachable and down to earth, an expert in his field. I would recommend Gavin's services to anyone who is looking for high-quality advice."