How to Use a Flexible Reversionary Trust to Avoid Inheritance Tax
This blog is all about how a Flexible Trust can be a really useful tool.
There are many different types of trusts, such as Discretionary Trusts or Immediate Post Death Interest Trusts, which all have different benefits. However, for the vast majority of people who are looking to place assets out of their estate for inheritance tax reasons, using a Flexible Reversionary Trust is one of the best methods to accomplish their inheritance tax aims.
You will find that many advisers recommend a Loan Trust which effectively takes the growth of the investment outside of the estate. The “loan” continues to stay in your estate until you die which means the capital remains in your estate for IHT purposes which is not what most people want. You can always get your Capital investment money back which gives some degree of flexibility.
Discounted Gift Trusts
Using a Discounted Gift Trust places the money outside of your estate with a discount on the amount of tax that is payable should you die within 7 years. You can also place more than £325,000 into an offshore or onshore bond held subject to this type of trust without triggering immediately a tax of 20%. This is often referred to as a Fixed Income Plan (a mix of a bond and a trust). However, this form of trust is very inflexible as you can’t alter the terms of it. Once you put the money in, you get a fixed income stream whether you need it or not. Also, it cannot be altered at any time until the settlor dies.
Flexible Reversionary Trusts
As this is a type of Discretionary Trust, the trustees have a right to adjust how the money goes to the beneficiaries in the long term when the settlor dies. This is a single settlor trust (only one person puts the money in) and the maximum is limited to the current Nil Rate Band (NRB) of £325,000 per person ( otherwise 20% tax would be payable on any excess over the NRB) If you were to put the amount of money in the trust and do nothing with it, after seven years then the whole amount of money would be outside of the estate. Every single year, you would get an entitlement to reversion of capital + growth (1/7) back to the settlor. For example, if you were to put £210,000 into a trust, you would be entitled to receive £30,000 + growth back each year. The flexibility comes from the fact that you can decide to accept the reversion or not. Moreover, if you needed a larger amount of money, it would also be possible to stack one reversion on top of another. For example, in one year, you could take out £60,000.
When the money reverts back, it has two elements: the original capital and the growth. The original capital is tax free whereas the growth is subject to income tax at your highest marginal rate. For most people, this form of trust is better than a Loan Trust as all of the money is out of the estate after seven years. It is also better than a Discounted Gift Trust because you don’t have a fixed level of income.
- A Flexible Reversionary Trust is highly flexible.
- The return of the capital from a Flexible Trust would be 14.28% compared to 5% for other trusts. Essentially this means you can withdraw a bigger lump sum out should you need it.
- Being able to get all your money back over a period of 7 years means that you can hold less assets as you can get your money back quickly. This help reduce your estate for inheritance tax.
- If you are in a couple, you can each have a Flexible Trust. If one person in the couple were to die, then (as they are single settlor trusts) the spouse would be the beneficiary of the trust. and would be entitled to all the assets not just 1/7 as required.
- You can have your cake and eat it because the trust is flexible as well as the money being completely outside of your estate. The only drawback is that you can’t have all your money back within one year.
- This form of trust suits almost everyone.
Like all matters related to Estate Planning and Inheritance Tax, experienced advice is essential.
Call us if you require any help and speak to our Inheritance Tax expert now.
What is an Inheritance Tax Trust?
In this blog, I will be explaining what a trust is, how to set up a trust, and how they function in general.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a separate legal entity. This means that it exists separately in English law in the same way that each person is treated separately for tax purposes. A trust functions to ensure that you, or someone you choose, can retain control of your assets.
There are many different types of trusts: you can write trusts into your will or you can create lifetime trusts which are set up during someone’s lifetime.
A good analogy is viewing a trust as a strongbox which is made by lawyers, with more complex and better strongboxes requiring better lawyers. A person called the settlor puts the assets into the box. These assets can then be ‘locked away’ until they are used for the benefit of the beneficiaries. However, the trustees keep the keys and have control of the assets.
How do you Create a Trust?
A trust must be written out properly which is why good lawyers are essential. Here, Bluebond uses some of the best lawyers in the country to ensure this occurs.
There are four main parts to a trust:
- The settlor – This is the person who often has an inheritance tax problem places the assets into a trust to remove them from his/her estate. This can happen during the settlor’s lifetime or upon their death (depending on the type of trust).
- The trustees – These are the people who control the trust and usually happen to be the settlors and their adult children.
- The beneficiaries – The beneficiaries are the people who benefit from the trust assets and the income that they generate. They are usually the adult children and grandchildren.
- The settlement – This is the amount placed into the trust which can range from as little as £10 to much larger amounts. Placing the £10 into the trust ensure it exists immediately and is called a lifetime pilot trust.
Will Trusts and Lifetime Trusts
Assets that are gifted are better protected when gifted into a trust than when given directly to people, for example, to children. If you set up a trust within your Will, the settlement will not take place until you die as only then will they trust come into existence and the assets go into the trust. For this reason, we prefer lifetime trusts where the assets are gifted during the lifetime, even though Will Trusts can be cheaper to set up. In addition, lifetime trusts can be especially useful for people with big inheritance tax problems.
Trusts Compared to Limited Companies
A trust can also be thought of as similar to a limited company where the trust settlors are equivalent to the people who set the company, the trustees are equivalent to the directors of the company, and the beneficiaries equivalent to the company shareholders. Also, like trusts, limited companies are taxed differently to individuals in the UK.
Complex Rules on Tax
Trusts have complex rules, especially on tax. There are initial charges when money is put in and a limit of £325,000 currently in 2020 to the amount that can go in without an immediate tax charge of 20%. Moreover, every 10 years there can be an income tax charge on the trustees called a ‘periodic charge.’ The capital gains tax charge will also be different. Essentially, the tax rules are different around trusts than they are for people or companies.
Always get good advice from an experienced practitioner before setting up a trust. There are many different types of trusts to suit different people and their needs. For example, a flexible reversionary trust enables you to put money in and then get it back over a period of time should you wish to. If you do not want it back, it stays in the trust and after 7 years it is outside of your estate.
Personally, I believe that lifetime trusts are the best option when compared to Will trusts
Call us if you require any help.
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What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is putting in place Wills and Lifetime Trusts to ensure your desired outcome, regarding who benefits from your estate, is achieved. Essentially, this means that the right people get the right money at the right time. It is all about ‘bloodline protection’ as most people want their children and then grandchildren to inherit their money once they die.
There are usually five problems that Estate Planning seeks to address.
- Divorce – Once you leave your money to your children, they could then find themselves getting a divorce. This risks half of your money going to your child’s ex-partner. Given how high the UK divorce rate is, it’s vitally important to protect your money from this scenario.
- Bankruptcy – 80% of small businesses become bankrupt in the first five years. If this were to happen to your daughter or her husband, without careful protection, all the assets that you had left to your daughter could be lost to her creditors or her husband’s creditors.
- Remarriage – Let’s say that upon your death all your assets are left to your married daughter. If she then dies and her widowed husband remarries someone who did not raise your grandchildren, it is highly possible that your grandchildren (against your intentions) could find themselves cut out of the money that you wanted to be left to them.
- Inheriting Early – If a couple were to die early, then their children would inherit at age 18. This means that your grandchildren could find themselves in charge of a large amount of money when they are perhaps not emotionally mature enough to manage it responsibly.
- The 64% Tax – If you don’t deal correctly with your Inheritance Tax problem then on your death you will need to pay a 40% Inheritance Tax charge, with the remainder, in all probability, passing to your children. If they also have an Inheritance Tax problem, then on their death there will be another 40% tax charge on the same money, so in total, this money which goes to your grandchildren will have suffered a 64% tax charge.
So, how do you protect against these problems? There are various solutions which help to protect your assets.
In an ideal world, the best thing to do would be to set up a lifetime trust (a trust established during your lifetime rather than being set up in your will to take effect at your death). In fact, you can set up multiple trusts on different days, rather than each trust being simultaneously created on the same day, that is the day you die. This gives you more flexibility.
Wills, Trusts and Trustees
It is sensible to have both a will and discretionary lifetime trust. When considering who to appoint as trustees, generally speaking, these should be the settlors (the person whose estate is being dealt with) and their adult children as this will reduce costs (you won’t be paying professional trustees). It is also recommended that you appoint one other person who is not a beneficiary of the trust to act as a trustee in the event of a disagreement between your adult children over how the trust should be managed.
How Does All This Work?
How does the solution of setting up wills and lifetime trusts together protect your assets against the five problems listed above? In a normal situation where you don’t have lifetime trusts your Wills might state that you leave your estate to your partner and then, when you are both dead, the Estate gets divided equally between your children. After this, you would hope that the money would travel down the family bloodline, however this might not happen.
Consider the following scenario, Steve and Ann are married and have three adult children: John, Dave and Jane. Now consider each of the five problems in turn and how setting up wills in conjunction with life time trusts can resolve these problems.
By setting up lifetime trusts in conjunction with a will, the desired beneficiaries receive their inheritance in their individual trusts rather than their partners having equal control over the assets. These trusts still lend the money to the adult children’s partners so that they still have the money. This means that they can lend the money interest-free, but it remains recallable on demand by the trustees (who are the adult children and also are the beneficiaries).
Imagine John is married to Mary and then they get divorced. In this case, the trustees recall the loan to John. This prevents Mary from receiving any of the loaned money.
The day after John’s divorce has settled, his other siblings, being the trustees, can give him back the money as a loan (as a part of the loan mechanism).
Imagine again that John and Mary are married. Let’s say that John dies before Mary and, in a few years’ time, Mary marries her golf instructor, Andy. Andy outlives Mary and, as a result, the money that came to Mary through John passes to Andy and, from here to his beneficiaries rather than John and Mary’s children, that is, Steve and Ann’s grandchildren.
In the event of bankruptcy, the creditors cannot get the money because it does not belong to John, it belongs to the trust.
Say John and Mary were to die early, leaving behind their young son. At age 18 he would be able to inherit his parent’s money However, if the money is in a trust, the trustees will decide how much money to give to the grandchild and when to give him the money.
Unfortunately, you cannot avoid paying the initial 40% tax because when the money went into the trust on your death. If it exceeds the allowances then the tax must be paid. However, the money would be protected from your children’s next 40% tax, and any tax the grandchildren would have faced.
Ultimately, this method of Estate Planning can save thousands for a family. Through operating a loan mechanism, the assets are protected from the risks of divorce, remarriage, bankruptcy, early inheritance, and a 64% tax.
Like all matters related to Estate Planning and Inheritance Tax, experienced advice is essential.
Call us if you to book a free consultation to discuss your Inheritance Tax and Estate Planning Issues.
How to Make 10 Years’ Salary in 10 Hours When Aged Between 30 to 40.
This blog focuses on clients’ children and how they can make 10 years’ salary in just 10 hours by resolving their parents Inheritance Tax problem. Normally, it takes around 10 hours of client time to deal with their Inheritance Tax and in general the savings are usually significant compared to the time spent.
For those who would prefer watching a video, click this link below to access it.
Inheritance Tax growth over time
A key problem is that the amount of Inheritance Tax payable will grow over time. If your parents are aged 55 to 60 currently and have an estate valued at around £1 million, then any growth on this estate will incur a 40% Inheritance Tax charge. In fact, we have calculated that after approximately 15 years, this tax will double and after 25 years, it will triple. By the time your parents have reached age 80-85, they will be paying triple the amount of Inheritance Tax than they are faced with now.
Whose problem is this?
Essentially, this is not really your parent’s problem as they will be going into retirement with their pensions and any remaining assets. However, if they don’t deal with their Inheritance Tax issue, the cost will be on you, their beneficiary, who will have to write out a very large cheque to HMRC.
I have found that over the years I seem to have a disproportionate number of Asian clients which I attribute to a difference in cultural attitudes. I have found that Asian people seem much more inclined to talk to their parents about money issues, whereas British people can be more reticent about family finances. However, I think that it is important to remember that most parents would want to retain money within the family.
Without going into depth, estate protection concerns retaining wealth within the family bloodline and ensures that one generation can offer support to future ones, for example by providing for the cost of the children’s future education.
For example, a key problem faced in many families is divorce. Undoubtably, divorce can reduce the money that your parents left you. Let us say that your parents leave you a million pounds and you get divorced. Here, you risk losing 50% of the money. Another relevant problem is bankruptcy. If your business goes bankrupt, you then face losing all your inherited money. Here, by using trusts as part of the estate planning process, you can protect these assets and keep them within the family.
Often you can save more money through Estate Planning than you can through using your Inheritance Tax allowances. This is because, if your children get divorced, 50% of their asset base could leave the family. If they become bankrupt, 100% of their asset base could leave the family. These amounts could be more than the 40% tax saving allowance on the first £1million of your estate value.
It is very common for people to delay tackling the problem. This is often linked to the complexity of the process: in many firms, clients may have to see lawyers, accountants and a separate firm of financial advisors. Bluebond, as a specialist firm, unites all three areas together (tax, legal and financial advice) which makes solving the problem much easier for the clients.
Why you should deal with IHT early
Given the uncertainty of life, the earlier that an Inheritance Tax problem is sorted out, the more options you have left and the less risk is associated in solving the problem. This is why I have some clients who are dealing with their Inheritance Tax aged only 55, even though they may live for another 30 years. Moreover, the bigger the size of the estate, the earlier you should act.
What can you do?
Essentially, the person that is affected most by a lack of action is you. However, there is no such thing as an estate that is too big where the issue cannot be solved. It can be done. Making sure that there is time, meaning everything is done properly, is essential. Talk to your parents about the estate. Consider that the estate planning is important because often you can save more through correct planning than through Inheritance Tax savings on the first £1 million. And, most importantly, deal with the problem early and do not become fazed by possible complexity. Afterall, you are going to pay the tax unless you take the necessary precautions.
How you can save money using 2 Insurances
This article explores how you can save thousands by simply having two whole life insurance plans rather than one.
When a person takes out life insurance for inheritance tax purposes, the default mechanism is a “Joint Life Second Death Whole of Life” plan.
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Joint Life Second Death Whole of Life Insurance
A Joint Life Second Death Whole Life Insurance policy is set up to pay on second death because inheritance tax is payable when the second person dies. So, this is not like purchasing a term life insurance policy for a set time period like a term life policy to cover your mortgage.
Joint Life Insurance is usually set up in such a way that it pays off when the first person dies during the life of the policy. It does work to settle the Inheritance tax as it ensures the money is available to pay the tax when the second insured person dies. However, you will find that these plans are quite expensive.
Once we came across a client who was paying about £600 per month into a Standard type whole of life policy while he was 52. Going at this rate for another 35 years or so could have cost him £252,000 over 35 years.
There are much better mechanisms available for you, such as using two plans, rather than one where you can save money.
The two types of plan are standard plans and maximum plans.
Standard Plan or Balanced Plan
A standard plan may be used to insure your retained assets, such as your main residence. Your home is not generally given away as you probably intend to remain living in it. If you did try and give it away while continuing living in it, this would cause tax problems for your children.
Other retained assets could be your car, furniture, some antiques, or any other asset you want to retain.
There are other assets, such as emergency funds. If your income stream matched or exceeded your expenditure, you would still need to keep a certain amount of money that you could get access to as your emergency fund.
Now the calculation for this type of cover must be done properly. You’ve got to look at those assets both for their current worth and how much it will likely grow over 20 – 30 years. Therefore, you’ve got to have an increasing value insurance plan in which the amount of coverage increases over time. Therefore, the premium will also increase over time. This requires a comprehensive calculation to get correct.
The other type of plan is called a Maximum plan which is set up differently to a standard or a balanced plan. The main reason to set up this plan is to cover your temporary assets. Assets that you intend to give away either directly or into trust such as shares, funds, property, etc.
If your income matches your expenditure, and if you’ve maintained a reasonable emergency fund, you may be able to start giving away some of your assets. Now, this could be done by directly giving them away to your children or else indirectly to trust, etc. Both methods allow you to take them out of your estate over time. This may take you anything from five years to 15 years to twenty years, and therefore you have to set up a maximum plan to cover you in case you both die during that period.
Let’s see how these two types of plans work for you. First, let’s have a look at the difference between a Standard Plan and a Maximum Plan.
Standard/ Balanced Plan
The premium of a standard plan consists of three key elements,
- Charges (Depends on the company)
- Life Cover
Let’s say you’re trying to insure yourself and your retained assets will be worth a couple of million in 20 years of the time when you die. So you need to start with around £500,000 of cover. So, your properties and other assets are starting at £500,000, but it’s going to grow, and therefore you need an increasing cover over time. Your premium will also increase over time.
So, as you’ve got this life cover, what happens with the investment? Over time the investment will grow with the stock market. Let’s say it rounds up to about £800,000 depending on health and so many other things. The company would expect that investment to meet the value of the cover. The value of the plan will pay the expected IHT liability on the second death.
So, what happens if you both die early?
If you die early, your children will get the value of your investment at that point, and they will also get the top up with the amount of insurance. Therefore, whatever the value is at that particular time hopefully covers your inheritance tax liability for those assets.
This is expensive because of the investment element. Imagine that you’re trying to save up £500,000 over 20 years. You will have to put over £1000 pounds or £2000 pounds a month, depending on the figures. Therefore, these policies are expensive and that’s why you need to implement this system of two plans.
A Maximum plan consists of two key elements with Life Cover being nearly the whole value of the plan with a smaller portion of charges. The costly investment element has taken out.
Your cover will increase over time, your premium will also increase over time, but now you’ve got no investment. What happens here is the increasing premium goes up annually and every ten years it takes a massive jump.
Over time this monthly premium could double or triple and then in another ten years, it could quadruple again which leads to the point that it becomes unsustainable. Because in 20 years you will be paying about £10,000 pounds a month. However, you’ve covered yourself during a particular period by giving yourself time to gift away the assets from your estate in other methods such as putting them into trust, downsizing your property & give away some of the excess capital, etc.
Therefore, this maximum plan gives you time but at a much lower cost. Let’s just say that you are 60 years of age and, you may be paying £800 a month with a standard plan whereas you may only be paying £80 a month with a maximum plan. That’s is a huge difference.
Once you have given assets away and the 7-year rule has been applied, you can reduce or stop your maximum plan
Therefore, that timescale and this methodology save a considerable amount of money.
The other thing that you’ve got to watch out for is the charges. If your adviser takes a commission on a plan, that commission could be thousands of pounds, which we don’t think is quite right as it will raise your monthly premiums considerably. So instead we charge a fee based on the plan, the risks, and the liability of advice. This is a flat fee with a very small additional cost depending on whether it’s a £2 million policy or a £1 million policy.
Generally, the savings, because you pay an upfront fee, is huge. Sometimes we’ve saved clients between £10,000 – £15,000 in terms of differences in the premiums over the terms of the policy.
Setting up these two types of plans together makes sense since most people want to retain some assets.
The differences in the cost per month are huge and with the second plan in place, it gives you time and the ability to give away your assets in a different format.
Lastly, like all inheritance tax advice experienced advice is essential. Please call us for a free consultation if you need and help.
As a bonus, book a free Zoom call consultation with Charles de Lastic, MD of Bluebond Tax Planning today.
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