Is Estate Planning More Important than Inheritance Tax Planning?

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Is Estate Planning More Important Than Inheritance Tax Planning. Source: Bluebond Youtube

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.

Five Problems

There are usually five problems that Estate Planning seeks to address.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Solutions

So, how do you protect against these problems? There are various solutions which help to protect your assets.

Discretionary Trusts

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).

Divorce

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).

Remarriage

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.

Bankruptcy

In the event of bankruptcy, the creditors cannot get the money because it does not belong to John, it belongs to the trust.

Early Inheritance

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.

64% Tax

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.

In Summary

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.

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Save £1000s of tax money using two insurances

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.

Those who would prefer to watch a video about this – play this YouTube video. Subscribe to our Channel for more tips and information like this.

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.

Maximum Plan

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,

  1. Charges (Depends on the company)
  2. Life Cover
  3. Investments

Example

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.

Maximum Plan

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. 

Verdict

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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