Dealing with the loss of someone we care about can be stressful, and the complexity of sorting out their affairs after they have gone can be extremely daunting and emotional.
Instinctively, we want to make sure that those we love and leave behind have little to worry about and sort out when we are no longer here, and so we put Estate Planning in place. However, even with the best Planning in place, families and loved ones often look to professionals for help.
After the funeral, families are faced with a raft of things they need to do to legally, efficiently and effectively deal with the deceased’s Estate. A Redwood specialist-run After-Life Meeting is important to help the family to navigate the required processes and procedures to ensure legal compliance and maximise Tax Efficiency.
What is a post-death meeting?
At Redwood, when a Client dies, a complimentary After-Life Meeting is offered to the family, beneficiaries, Executors and Trustees of the deceased to assist them at what is an emotional and traumatic time. These meetings are also referred to as Post Death Meetings.
Meeting agenda topics will include Probate, Will Execution, Trusts, Inheritance Tax Planning, and Financial Planning.
What should I plan before I die?
Death has a 100% success rate; however, in our experience, less than 1% of us will properly prepare for our death with true Estate Planning. As a minimum, we recommend you have a Will drafted to ensure your wishes are followed and Lasting Powers of Attorney in place to protect you while you are still alive.
Write a Will
For many, writing their Wills can be a very daunting and emotional prospect, filled with legalese, myths and legends. So it is hardly surprising that so many put off doing it in the first place!
All they want is to protect their loved ones, family members and beneficiaries from the financial and emotional impacts that their passing can bring to others if they die Intestate (without a Will).
An essential part of protecting your assets for those you leave behind is making a Will. If you have dependents, you could set out what your wishes are for them in the event of your death, including naming those you wish to be their guardian.
As soon as someone turns 18, they should really consider having a Will. While they may not yet have amassed a big Estate, they could well have young dependents who will need guardianship in their absence, some wealth, as well as physical and digital assets.
Think of a Trust as a type of virtual safety deposit box, there for you to put assets into for safekeeping, that only you and your nominated Trustees can access.
When your assets are distributed from your Trust to your beneficiaries, this is done on the basis of a loan, so they are receiving a loan from the Trust rather than a gift.
It is that very subtle difference that has the immensely powerful benefit of removing the value of that asset from your beneficiaries’ Estate. A loan is an outstanding debt against your Estate when you die and must be settled before any Inheritance Tax is paid.
You will need to set up a Trust if you want to:
- Protect your Estate against potential future assessment for Care Fees
- Leave assets to a vulnerable or disabled person
- Ensure children from a previous relationship inherit even if you have a new spouse/partner
- Mitigate generational Inheritance Tax liabilities
- Protect a Life Insurance Policy settlement from Inheritance Tax assessment
- Protect your beneficiary’s inheritance from Divorce, Relationship Breakdowns and Bankruptcy
Lasting Power of attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is currently one of the most important documents you could ever create as it is the only way to ensure your health and assets can be managed how you would want them to be should you lose capacity during your lifetime.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney: Property and Affairs and Health and Welfare. A Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney allows elected Attorneys to deal with the financial aspects of the Donor’s Estate, whereas the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows your Attorneys to deal with your health and care decisions.
Think of having a valid Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) as being like having a home insurance policy in place. You hope you’ll never need to use it, but the fact that it is there in advance and ready to use should a fateful day come is both comforting and reassuring.
The only difference is, unlike a home insurance policy, you only pay for your LPA once!
True Estate Planning
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 Taxes and Care Fees or in the event of a Divorce or relationship breakdown.
Is it better to have a Will or a Trust?
The answer to this question very much depends on what you want to achieve with your Estate Planning.
If you have a fairly simple Estate and all you want to do is specify who should receive what when you die, make provision for the Guardianship of any children, or express your funeral wishes, then a basic Will is sufficient for your needs.
If, however, you have a more complex Estate that you want to protect from things like Divorces and Relationship Breakdowns within the family, Inheritance Taxation charges, or from being included in any assessment towards future Care Fees, you will want to protect your legacy in a legal and tax-efficient way.
The good news is that this can be done in a safe and highly effective way, using the law as it was intended to be used by HMRC.
The solution is Protective Wills which carve the right types of Trusts through them, bespoke to achieving your Estate Planning goals.
How can I help my loved ones after I die?
Having ensured you have put robust Planning in place prior to death, ensuring that your Trustees, Executors and beneficiaries know about your plans in advance will significantly help your loved ones after you pass.
Be sure to tell them that Redwood has been your Planning Specialist and that we are there to help them when the time comes. Ideally, share a copy of your Will and Trusts with them too.
How can Redwood Wills & Trusts help?
When your loved ones tell us you have passed, we will offer to host a complimentary After-Life Meeting either at our office or via a video call.
The purpose of the After-Life Meeting is to lay out in simple terms what needs to happen and who is responsible for making sure everything happens in the right order.
We will look at the need for Probate and agree on who should complete the Probate Process. We will work with your loved ones to help ensure a smooth process is set out and agreed upon and ensure there is absolute clarity about who is going to be doing what at the end of the meeting.
We help the surviving spouse, civil partner and/or the beneficiaries receive the Estate and inherit the funds in the most tax-efficient way, to suit their financial needs.
The Redwood After-Life Meeting has been developed to provide peace of mind for you, knowing that your loved ones have an expert to guide them through the complexity of processes when you have died, and for your loved ones, knowing they have someone you knew and trusted looking after their best interests on your behalf.
If you would like to know more or would like to speak to someone about your planning needs please complete our contact form and our team will be in contact soon!