Planning your estate – are you up to date?

Reviewing your estate planning should be something that is routinely done, and with the end of the tax year fast approaching, this is an ideal time to do so.

Through re-examining your affairs and looking at provision for your estate, you can ensure your circumstances are current and have been updated as necessary, and importantly, that you remain as tax efficient as possible so future generations can benefit from your wealth in the way that you wish.

Here are some areas you should give consideration to, and take action if necessary.

  • Keep your will updated – as well as reflecting any changes in your own circumstances, it is important that any relevant changes in the lives of your beneficiaries are reflected
  • Consider a Lasting Power of Attorney – this will allow you to nominate the people (relatives, close friends or trusted professional advisors) who can make decisions on your behalf should you ever lose the capacity to do so
  • Keep abreast of new exclusions, exemptions and reliefs, and ensure you are making use of those you can benefit from. With the tax year end approaching, it is a good time to consider using your annual £3,000 exemption for gifts, if you have not already done so
  • Look at the ‘normal expenditure out of income’ exemption – this can be an effective way of reducing inheritance tax (IHT) and, providing you meet the exemption conditions, this can mean the lifetime gifts you make will be excluded from IHT
  • Does your estate qualify for the residence nil rate band? – in April last year, an additional relief was introduced which can reduce the IHT payable on the family home. The terms of your will and your estate structure will affect how much relief can be claimed
  • Ensure you have optimum Trust arrangements – with expert guidance, it may be possible to set up additional Trusts as part of your estate planning
  • Consider life insurance policies under Trust – by specifying you wish your life insurance policy proceeds to be paid into a Trust rather than your estate, it will therefore be free of IHT on your death
  • Review arrangements affecting assets abroad – any assets you own overseas may be subject to changes in local succession issues and inheritance laws
  • Look at your digital assets record – ensure your information which is held digitally is properly protected, and that passwords and relevant details are securely stored so executors or Attorneys can use them if and when necessary

For advice or clarity on any of the above points, or to look at effectively planning or reviewing your estate, please contact our team at any time.

Sophie Robinson is a wills and probate specialist at law firm Sintons, based in Newcastle. To speak to Sophie, contact her on or 0191 226 7812.

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