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q&a

Elderly Client Advice

QDo I need a Will?
 

AThe simple answer is yes, everybody needs a Will regardless of their family circumstances or assets. If you die without a Will, known as dying intestate matters can be complicated for those you leave behind and can take longer to sort out than if you had left a valid Will. Our advice is that it is never too early to plan for the future and writing your Will is not something that you should put off for another day.

QHow Much Do Wills Cost?
 

AWe offer a fixed fee service for most simple straight forward Wills. Our current charges for a single person are £125.00 plus VAT and £200.00 plus VAT for a couple. If Inheritance Tax planning or advice is required we will discuss our charges with you before any work is carried out on your behalf.

QWhat is a Lasting Power of Attorney And Do I Need One?
 

AA Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which authorises a person or persons of your choice to act on your behalf should you become mentally incapable of doing so in the future. These people are known as your attorneys and can be appointed to make decisions both in respect of your finances and your health and welfare. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a very useful document and again, should be considered by everybody regardless of circumstances. It is however, more of an issue for people entering their later years where capacity becomes more of an issue. If a person loses capacity and does not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place an application to the Court of Protection may be required. Such an application is costly and can take many months to finalise. If a Lasting Power of Attorney has already been set up the attorneys can begin acting almost immediately.

QWhen Is Inheritance Tax Payable?
 

AEach person has a set amount they can leave on death before any Inheritance Tax is payable. The current threshold in force is £325,000.00. If a person dies leaving assets over and above £325,000.00 Inheritance Tax is payable on the surplus at a rate of 40%. However, any assets left to a spouse regardless of the amount are exempt from Inheritance Tax. The same rules apply to any assets left to a charity. It is also now possible for any unused Inheritance Tax free amount to be transferred between spouses on death. This effectively means that when the first of a married couple dies and leaves everything to their surviving spouse, the surviving spouse will then double the amount they can leave free of Inheritance Tax on their death. There are other factors to consider in respect of Inheritance Tax in relation to gifts made before death and specific advice would be needed in this respect from a solicitor.

QIs There Anything I Can Do To Reduce Inheritance Tax Payable On My Estate?
 

AIf your estate is subject to Inheritance Tax there are many ways you can reduce this using lifetime planning. For example, each individual is able to give away £3000 in any tax year without this amount being part of their Inheritance Tax calculation on death. Larger gifts need to be survived by 7 years in order for them to be exempt from Inheritance Tax. It is also possible to make regular gifts from surplus income and we are able to offer further advice in this respect.