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Why Leave your Families Future to Luck?

My name is Sarah Haywood. As a mother of three grown up children, having gone through divorce and the difficulties it brings, I understand some of the challenges families face in these circumstances. It can lead to children living away from parents and being brought up by someone who is not blood related to them. This is a time when trusts to protect assets can help put your mind at rest, knowing that no matter what happens, your own children will still benefit from what you have, whilst a new partner or spouse is not left high and dry without a home. 


Choosing a guardian for children where you die young can be difficult. What if the Government were to choose them for you with no consideration from you? Without a Will, this is exactly what will happen. Many years ago, a friend of mine’s brother got married in Spain. They flew to the reception in a helicopter. Their children were waiting at the reception. An accident meant they never made it. Thank goodness they had done a Will and named my friend as a guardian. Social Services will still get involved, but to save family arguments, the transition will be much smoother where people are already identified. 


My father has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This is becoming a story that is common to many families. It can be hard to accept but at the same time it is imperative that the right planning is put in place before such an illness is diagnosed. Once they lose capacity, all ability to protect their assets for the family goes out of the window. 


A friend of mine has a child with Autism. He is never likely to be independent and will always need some kind of support from state benefits. Leaving assets to a child directly in this situation, can lead to benefits being withdrawn and the need to reclaim later when the Government may have changed the rules. 


Cohabitation sounds wonderful on paper, but when one of you dies, the tax man will not recognise the relationship. Instead, anyone over the Inheritance Tax thresholds will be taxed and the remaining partner may be left having to sell the joint home, especially if there are children involved. Putting the right planning in place, can help to alleviate this situation.


It is surprising how many families fall out, wanting nothing more to do with each other. Yet when some dies, they suddenly appear again. Making sure your assets are protected in a way that means they are not readily available to be contested, can help your assets go to those you want to benefit.


The new rules for Inheritance Tax mean that if you have children, you can benefit from extra allowances as long as you own a home and have an estate below £2million. If above this, with the right planning, it is still possible to claim. If you have no children, this extra allowance is not available. 


Gifting to Charity can help reduce your Inheritance Tax bill. 

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