Estate Planning Solutions

Redwood Financial

Our Award-Winning Estate Planning Solutions ensure that your assets are protected from the nastier things in life; like Long Term Care Fees, Inheritance Tax, Divorce, and Relationship Breakdowns in a legal and tax-efficient way. 

Through effective Estate Planning, we will help you take control of your assets to make sure that your beneficiaries receive the right money, at the right time and it stays with them.

What is Estate Planning and why is it important?

Estate Planning is about making sure you have all the right legal documents in place to carry out your wishes and manage your estate in the event of your death or ill-health. Taking the time now to plan what happens to the legacy you leave behind, can help reduce your Inheritance Tax bill and ensure your family will have less to worry about when you are gone. 

Estate Planning is so important because failing to make plans for your Estate can lead to unintended consequences for your beneficiaries, including the loss of wealth through paying unnecessary Inheritance Tax and Care Fees or in the event of a Divorce or relationship breakdown.

Since 2007, we’ve been providing the highest quality Financial Planning to help families grow, protect and enjoy their wealth.

Our Estate Planning Services include:

Whether it is a basic Will, Living Will or a Will Trust our Estate Planners can talk you through all the options and important things to consider when making a Will. We will guide you through who to appoint as your Executors and how best to structure your Will so it can be flexible and future proof to allow for changes in your circumstances and wishes.

Controversially, we believe Lasting Powers of Attorney are more important than a Will. The reason? Because a Will looks after everyone else after you have died, whereas a Lasting Power of Attorney is about looking after you, while you are still alive, but no longer have the capacity to make your own decisions. The implications of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place for your Financial and Health decisions is very serious and can cost you and your loved ones a lot of heartache and unnecessary costs down the line.

They have been around since the time of the crusades, but Trusts remain a widely mysterious and underused section of UK law, which can legitimately help Clients to protect their wealth and reduce their Inheritance Tax liability. There is a misconception that Trusts are expensive, complex and as such reserved only for the ultra-wealthy. In truth it is because many Solicitors, Will Writers and Estate Planners fail to discuss the options of Trusts with their Clients, that so few people know about them and their protective benefits. That is why at Redwood we are passionate about demystifying Trusts. Explaining them in plain English and making them affordable and accessible to all our Clients regardless of their Estate size.

When dealing with your Estate Planning, we will have to talk about death and specifically your funeral wishes. You can be as detailed as you want or you can leave all the decisions up to your loved ones, but over the years of helping Clients who have lost their loved ones, we’ve seen that the more prepared you are, the easier it makes it for the ones you leave behind. At a time when they will be grieving, we’ve found that having a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan means your loved ones won’t need to find the money to pay for your funeral, they won’t have to worry about what type of ceremony you wanted, the hymns, flowers or head stone because you will have detailed your wishes and paid for it in advance. We researched and continue to regularly review the best Pre-Paid Funeral Plans on the market so our Clients can have confidence in the plans we recommend for them.

Having worked and paid taxes your whole life, many people understandably struggle with the idea of seeing 40% of their wealth go to the taxman when they die. 

But as Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Roy Jenkins, said in 1986 “Inheritance Tax, is broadly speaking, a voluntary levy paid by those who distrust their heirs more than they dislike the Inland Revenue”. 

This is because within the UK Inheritance Tax regime there are several reliefs, allowances, and exemptions which when utilised properly and ahead of time can legitimately reduce your Inheritance Tax bill down to zero. So why do so many people pay Inheritance Tax when they don’t have to? Usually it is a combination of simply not being aware that these reliefs, allowances and exemptions exist and a failure to proactively address your Inheritance Tax liability before it is too late. Remember most Inheritance Tax Planning is subject to the 7-year rule, whereby you must live 7 years after implementing your Inheritance Tax reduction strategy for it to be accepted by HMRC. These factors, together with the misconception that again Inheritance Tax Planning is complicated, leads many people to believe there is nothing they can do to mitigate their Inheritance Tax bill, which is simply not the case

Let’s be honest none of us want to go into care, but if we do, we want to make sure we have the best standard of care, without losing all our hard-earned wealth. Despite the Government of the time promising that the NHS would look after us from the cradle to the grave the reality is quite different. It is completely understandable that many Clients want to make sure they have a good standard of care later in life but are still able to leave something behind for their beneficiaries when they die. Sadly, due to the local authority financial assessment process, many people find themselves fully funding their care costs with it being nearly impossible to get full or even partial funding from the local authority.

Care Fee Planning is not just about making sure you have a clear plan of how you could fund your care later in life, but it is also about taking proactive steps to protect some of your assets, before care is foreseeable or on the horizon. This is so the local authority pays a fair share in your care costs, allowing your wealth to last longer and hopefully still allow you to provide some inheritance for your loved ones.

Deciding how to keep your valuable Estate Planning documents stored is very important, not least due to all of the time and effort that has been put into drawing them up, as well as the costs involved in replacing them if they get damaged or lost. At Redwood we offer a Secure Document Storage Service to keep all your Estate Planning documents together, in one secure location giving you peace of mind.

What is better: A Will or Estate Planning to protect my loved ones?

To many, Will Planning and Estate Planning are the same. While the terms may seem interchangeable, they are quite different processes that both play an important role in the management of your assets.

A Will dictates who should receive what from the division of your assets when you die, based on your documented wishes. Estate Planning ensures that your assets are protected from the unforeseen risks that often reduce the value left in your Estate and your family’s Inheritance.

Maximising your tax reliefs, protecting against Long Term Care Fees, Inheritance Tax, Divorce, Relationship Breakdowns, as well as reducing the risk of your Will being successfully contested, are the key differences of Estate Planning verse a Will.

Using Trust laws that have been enshrined in English Law for centuries, we can help you protect your wealth to ensure that the right money, goes to the right people and more importantly, stays there!

Of course, there is nothing wrong with a basic Will if you just want to stipulate what happens to your assets when you die. Our Online Will Writing Service can help you to create your simple and legal Will in less than 30 minutes. 

However, it is important to know that a basic Will as a form of Estate Planning cannot protect your family from Inheritance Tax, Care Fees, or Divorce, for that you must take professional Estate Planning Advice.

So where should you start to ensure your Assets and Family's Inheritance is protected?

Without having a valid Will in place, there is a myriad of ways in which your wealth can be distributed and diverted away from the people you wanted to receive it. Your Estate Planning can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it. You will need to make sure that your Estate Plan provides the right level of protection you require in the event of your death.

Naturally, the starting point of any discussion concerning your assets must be the assurance that your own needs are catered for. This must include your day to day living expenses, as well as any future requirements that may require extra income. This may involve matters out of your hands such as the peaks and troughs of the investment markets, or there could be a requirement in the future for some form of Long-Term Care or a medical expense.

Planning for your needs and requirements

Once we have planned for all your needs, through the effective use of Family Controlled Trusts, your Estate can then be protected from any future unforeseen events whether that is Care Fees, Ill-Health, Divorce or Relationship Breakdowns. Once all the legal documents are in place to protect you and your loved ones from these possible wealth erosion events, we can then turn our attention to improving the tax efficiency of your Estate by maximising your available tax reliefs and reducing the amount of Inheritance Tax your Estate pays.

During this entire Estate Planning process, one thing remains critical – that you always stay in complete control of your wishes and assets.

For these reasons, we would always advise that you seek professional expert advice before putting your Estate Planning in place.

What is the process to achieve Estate Planning?

True Estate Planning is a complex subject and we would always recommend that you seek professional help and advice. At Redwood, we always recommend that your start by attending one of our FREE 45 minutes Wills & Trusts Estate Planning Webinars. This will give you a good insight into what is involved before you even embark on your journey.

You will have lots of questions specific to your personal circumstances and we offer an Initial Meeting with an expert Adviser to answer your questions and to understand your personal Financial and Estate Planning Goals. They will also review any current documentation, such as a current Will and Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure they are robust and legally valid.

An Adviser will recommend the next steps you should take to protect your Estate for you and your loved ones in the most tax-efficient and effective way. Those recommendations will be confirmed in writing after the meeting.

Moving forward, a Discovery Report will be produced, and Meeting held to set out each of the Advisers detailed recommendations, the benefits of implementing each one and the associated costs to do so. These recommendations are unique to the Client, who can choose to implement all, some or none of the options presented, based on priority, importance to them and budget.

Any chosen recommendations are then implemented, with review and approval by the Client before final sign off.

How much does Estate Planning cost?

Estate Planning Implementation costs are unique to every Client, as the recommendations are bespoke to their needs. All our Clients receive a full breakdown of recommendations and the costs in their Estate Plan, before deciding what to implement. You are in the driving seat and you choose what planning you want to instruct us to put in place, from all the recommendations, to just some of them, to none of them!

Implementation

As a guide, Estate Planning Implementation (based on a couples Estate Planning) can be between £552 – £9,500 depending on the complexity of Estate Planning required, but we like to break this down into three levels of planning for Clients to choose from.

Basic Planning

Basic Estate Planning can cost between £552 – £2,700 (for example Mirror Wills and both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney).

Foundation Planning

Foundation Estate Planning can cost £1,200 – £3,900 (for example everything in Basic Planning plus professionally crafted Protective Wills and Trusts that come into effect upon your death to protect your beneficiaries from things like care fees, divorce, bankruptcy, inheritance tax).

Advanced Planning

Advanced Estate Planning costs between £5,200 – £9,500 (for example, Protective Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney but building on Foundation Planning to include Live Trusts that are set up now, while you are still alive. Ordinarily, we would not recommend Advanced Planning unless you have a specific need to gift or place an asset into Trust prior to your death).

FREE Wills & Trusts Estate Planning Webinar

As professional Estate Planners, we are passionate about helping people to Grow, Protect and Enjoy their wealth and our FREE Wills & Trusts Estate Planning Webinar is designed to ensure you have all the information you need to choose the right Estate Planning path for you and your loved ones.

Our Webinar will help you to understand the options and consequences an Estate Planner can advise you on: from Inheritance Tax mitigation, Trusts, The Residential Nil Rate Band, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Cash Gifts, Life Insurance, and Tax Efficient Net Worth Management.

Contact Us Today
Steve Blofield
Steven Blofield
Steve is the Director and Senior Estate Planner at Redwood Financial. He helps Clients to manage and grow their wealth and protect their estate.
Trusted by our clients

Steve Blofield and his team are excellent! Friendly and helpful advice is readily at hand and has opened my eyes to the importance of estate planning. A brief phone conversation is always followed by a comprehensive email. This firm deserves its awards and excellent reputation.

Nick, Redwood Client

More Frequently Asked Questions

We often meet people who, for one reason or another, have just never gotten around to putting a Will in place. It is only when they have clarity about what a Will is, what it can achieve, and the amazing benefits of true Estate Planning that they appreciate why a Will is so incredibly important.

When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, everything they own, (The Estate), must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the Rules of Intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a Will is therefore deemed to have died intestate and the Government through the Rules of Intestacy will dictate how your Estate is distributed to your spouse, children, siblings, parents, and other bloodline relatives. This means the family members you believe will inherit your Estate, may not be the ultimate beneficiaries of your Estate after all.

If someone makes a Will that is subsequently found to be invalid because it has not been drawn up correctly, the Rules of Intestacy will also be used to decide how the Estate will be shared out. Any instructions and wishes expressed in the Will are not followed. That is why it is so important to use suitably experienced and qualified Estate Planners when drafting your Will, so you can have confidence that your Will not only reflects your wishes but is also valid.

Under the Rules of Intestacy, married partners or civil partners can only inherit the Estate if they are married or in a civil partnership at the time of death. If they have divorced or legally ended a civil partnership, they are unable to inherit the Estate under the Rules of Intestacy.

Those who have informally separated at the time of death can still inherit the Estate under the Rules of Intestacy, so as soon as separation occurs, it is important to write a Will if you don’t wish your Estate to go to your separated spouse.

There is a big misconception about cohabiting partners (sometimes wrongly referred to as ‘common-law’ partners) who are neither married nor in a civil partnership. Regardless of how long you may have been cohabiting, the Rules of Intestacy currently give unmarried partners no rights whatsoever, meaning none of your Estate can be inherited under the Rules of Intestacy by your partner.

Therefore, the only way to make sure your partner is provided for and can inherit your assets is to make sure you draft a Will with your chosen Estate Planners.

Many couples jointly own their home. There are two different ways of jointly owning a home. They are Beneficial Joint Tenancies and Tenancies in Common.
If the partners were Beneficial Joint Tenants at the time of the death, when the first partner dies, the surviving partner will automatically inherit the other partner’s share of the property. However, if the partners are Tenants in Common, the surviving partner does not automatically inherit the other person’s share, instead, it is distributed via their Will.

Couples may also have joint bank or building society accounts, in the same way as property if one dies, the other partner will automatically inherit the whole of the money.

While automatic inheritance might sound like a great thing, it can leave the surviving partner and their loved ones without protection from future wealth erosion events such as Inheritance Tax, Care Fees, and Divorce. This is why when you are planning your Estate distribution you need to think about the ownership of your assets and take advice on whether the way you own your Estate should change in order to benefit from the protection of Trusts.

A quick online search will soon tell you that there is an extremely broad spectrum of charges in the Estate Planning market.

Our Clients tell us they love our Fixed Fee Policy, which means you will know the cost to the penny before deciding to instruct us to act on your behalf. People also love the fact that we speak in Plain English wherever it is possible to do so, and where it is not, we explain any jargon used in an easy to understand way. You can see our current fixed prices here.

The four most important factors to consider in your Estate Planning are Inheritance Tax, Care Fees, Bloodline Protection and appointing your Executors, Trustees and Attorney’s.

At the end of your Estate Planning journey you should have a clear plan in place to reduce your Inheritance Tax bill that makes sure you don’t just pass a bigger Inheritance Tax bill down to the next generation. You and your Estate Planner should have also planned what you want to have happen in the event you go into care and how to protect your wealth from the local authority. During the Estate Planning process you should have also identified your beneficiaries and confirmed with your Estate Planner if you want your Beneficiaries and their bloodline to be protected from losing their inheritance through taxation, care fees, bankruptcy, divorce and relationship breakdowns.

Having had these discussions with your Estate Planner there are four main elements of an estate plan; these usually include a Protective Will, Severance of Tenancy, Lasting Powers of Attorney, and a Trust.

Once your Estate Plan is set out, you need to consider who to appoint as your Executors, Trustees and Attorney’s. You must trust the people you appoint to follow your wishes and wherever possible, we recommend you consider appointing your loved ones, not professionals, as your Executors, Trustees and Attorney’s. This means your family stays in control of your Estate and you do not lose wealth paying unnecessary professional fees.

Just because you can do something yourself, does it mean you should do it yourself? There are reasons why you might be tempted to do your own Estate Planning, the cost saving being one obvious reason.

Yes, there are elements of your Estate Planning you can do yourself, but the risk in doing so is having legal documents which are incorrectly drafted and executed. Invariably any mistakes or errors in someone’s DIY planning do not come to light until it is too late, when someone loses mental capacity or dies. At that point, it can cost your loved one’s thousands of pounds in legal and court fees fixing these errors retrospectively. In the worst-case scenario doing it yourself could lead to your Estate paying more Inheritance Tax, not less. That is why we always recommend seeking professional advice in this important area of planning.

It can be confusing with all the different terms to understand the difference between Financial Planning and Estate Planning and although different, they are two sides of the same coin. The difficulty is you may have a Financial Adviser, but they do not advise on Estate Planning and most Estate Planners are not normally qualified Financial Planners as well.

Put simply, Estate Planning involves drafting all the legal documents needed to protect your wealth in the event of your ill health or death, including Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Trusts. Financial Planning involves utilising the right financial products for your Investment and Pensions to help grow and improve the tax efficiency of your wealth, both in your lifetime and on death, when these assets pass to your beneficiaries.

At Redwood, we are proud to be qualified specialists in both Financial & Estate Planning. We bring the two disciplines together so that our Clients can benefit from comprehensive advice, looking at the complete picture, delivering a Financial and Estate Plan which saves our Clients time and money.

To many, Will Planning and Estate Planning are the same. While the terms may seem interchangeable, they are quite different processes that both play an important role in the management of your assets.

A Will dictates who should receive what from the division of your assets when you die, based on your documented wishes. Estate Planning ensures that your assets are protected from the unforeseen risks that often reduce the value left in your Estate and your family’s Inheritance.

Estate Planning is a comprehensive look at your entire Estate, understanding the makeup of your assets, making sure your Estate is structured in the most tax efficient way, whilst maximising your tax reliefs, protecting against Long Term Care Fees, Inheritance Tax, Divorce, Relationship Breakdowns, as well as reducing the risk of your Will being successfully contested. Typically, it includes planning like Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney to protect you during your lifetime, as well as a protective and tax efficient Will and Trust arrangement to deal with your Estate upon your death. These are just some of the key differences between Estate Planning verses just creating a Will.

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