A well-balanced investment strategy is one that is safely diversified and does not over depend on the fortunes of one type of investment or one investment company. It also has regard to time, i.e. looking at when access to funds is required. The investor’s attitude to risk is key, as each savings and investment portfolio should be unique to the individual. Taxation too is important. Where possible all available tax shelters should be used (such as ISA’s) provided the investment and savings plans suit the investor.
We can advise and arrange on straight forward simple investments and provide;
We have experienced consultants who can advise you on all your investments and savings, be it by way of capital investment or monthly contribution.
Our Investment Management Service provides a valuable resource to both private clients and trustees by steering your investments through the fast flowing waters of the stock market.
Please remember, the value of an investment, and any income taken from it, can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invest.
The overall aim of the financial planning process is to help you reach your financial goals, and develop or maintain your desired lifestyle, in the most efficient way possible.
We therefore adopt a systematic consistent approach which ensures the needs of our clients come first, and aims to deliver a ‘Successful Financial Planning Experience’. The Process is generally broken down into 6 steps, commonly adopted by leading Professional Financial Planners.
The purpose of the Discovery Meeting is an opportunity for you to get to know us, ensuring you feel comfortable about what we do and how we do it. It is also an opportunity to establish an outline of your objectives, and whether we will be able to add significant value to your planning.
Establish Your Objectives
Only if clients are comfortable, the Discovery Meeting can lead to an immediate detailed discussion about your plans. This is where we gather details about you, and try and understand as much as we can about what really matters to you. What you care about? What interests you? What your fears are? What would you do if money was not an option? We will help you identify and articulate the answers to these important questions.We will also gain a complete understanding of your current financial situation.The more detail the better, because the clearer the picture of you and your finances is, the clearer the starting point of your journey.
Analyse Your Planning
Using the information gathered, we now work as your Financial Planner and take a comprehensive look at the tangible financial elements that make up your life such as your savings, investments, protection, retirement, tax position and estate planning.
Prepare and Present Your Wealth Management Plan
From our analysis we then develop a highly specialised bespoke ‘Wealth Management Plan’ for getting you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. We assess your objectives to determine any ‘gap’ between the goal and the reality. This ‘Gap Analysis’ will enable us to clearly understand the journey you will need to travel, in order to achieve your goals and live the life you want.
Implement Plan and Recommendations
Once we have reached agreement with you, we can begin to implement the strategy. This is an important and critical stage and various factors will need to be considered. As some plans may take several weeks to implement, we ensure you are aware of all timescales prior to implementation whilst keeping you informed of progress at all times.
Monitor and Review Your Planning
After a comprehensive Wealth Management Plan has been implemented, it soon becomes out of date, either because economic, tax or external conditions have changed, or your circumstances may simply have moved on.
For these reasons, we have put together a comprehensive Wealth Management Review Service that monitors and evaluates your progress. At this stage any adjustments or modifications can be accommodated into your Plan.
We take the opportunity to re-visit our relationship with you to ensure you are completely satisfied with our approach.
Please remember that the value of an investment and, any income taken from it, can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invest.
Did you know that more and more people are becoming liable to Inheritance Tax (IHT), yet it can be a mitigated tax. Even with the effective doubling of the IHT threshold for married couples (and civil partnerships) many people are still being caught by this tax.
Inheritance tax (IHT) is no longer a concern just for the wealthy. It is a growing worry for many people, especially homeowners who have benefited from growth in the value of their properties. Property is not the only asset that makes up a person’s estate. Your estate also includes: your contents and possessions, your savings and investments, your pension fund and any life insurance not in trust.
Over the years, the IHT thresholds have, in real terms, stealthily fallen. The threshold (nil rate band) has not kept pace with property inflation and as such, more and more people are falling into the trap of paying inheritance tax. IHT is payable at a flat rate of 40% on assets above the nil rate band. Unlike many other taxes though, there are plenty of things you can do now to make sure you pass as much of your wealth on to your family and friends, and not the taxman.
Make a Will
The first thing to do is to see a professional will writer or solicitor to make a will. There is no IHT payable between spouses, so if a partner dies and leaves his or her estate in full to the spouse, there is no tax to pay. It is the children who typically pay the inheritance tax liability after the death of both parents.
Another means by which IHT can be minimised is the setting up of specialised trusts. These are legal documents that should always be drawn up by experts, usually barristers. Always consult a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
Two in every three trust deeds written are used to reduce liabilities to Inheritance Tax. Many more are used to prevent children from getting their hands on money until a predetermined age which, depending on the type of trust, can be 18, 21 or 25 – or sometimes until a named individual decides they are capable of dealing with it sensibly.
If the aim is tax-saving, it’s important to understand that, once assets have been placed in trust, your access to the money will be affected, so you will need to think carefully about what you can safely afford to give away. There are typically four types of trust in popular use at the present time: Interest in Possession; Life Interest; Discretionary; and Accumulation & Maintenance. Each type of trust does a different job and each comes with its own sets of pros and cons. The utilisation of trusts is the best way to minimise your exposure to IHT and if this has piqued your interest, your next step is to consult the legal profession.
Gifting money away and lifetime allowances
Wills are not the only weapon in the battle to minimise IHT bills. You can, for instance, simply give away as much as possible while you’re still alive. This is known as a “Potentially-Exempt Transfer”, or PET. Anything you give away is IHT-free, as long as you manage to survive for more than seven years after handing it over. If you die within seven years, the recipients will still be taxed, but on a sliding scale. If you die within three years, they have to pay the full 40 per cent of anything above the Nil-Rate Band. If, however, you die after three years, the tax reduces. When gifting money away, it may be useful to use BONDS as an investment vehicle, and put the bond in trust.
Equity release may be a useful tool for anyone over the age of 60, with no mortgage on their property. Given that property is often the biggest asset one has, it can be prudent to reduce the estate by drawing on the equity in the house. You can either release a lump sum or a monthly income or a combination of the two. The amount you can release is determined by the valuation of your house and your age. The release of capital is tax free. In most cases, interest is rolled up so you don’t need to pay the money back until death or until you sell your house, however, the rolling up of interest may mean that the eventual repayment may be significantly greater than the sum originally released. If you move home, you can ‘port’ the mortgage to another property within certain criteria. SHIP (safe home income plans) members also provide a ‘no negative equity guarantee,’ so that no matter what happens to the value of your home or however long you live, the beneficiaries of your estate will not have to pay any additional costs on the sale of the home.
Whole of life policies
Using a life insurance policy with no end term such as a whole of life (WOL) policy can be very useful in mitigating inheritance tax. The policy can be written in a single name if a widow or the applicant is single, or joint names if the applicants are married. If married a couple would apply for a joint life second death policy, so that only on the second death would the policy pay out to the beneficiaries. The amount of cover selected would be set at the outset as the IHT liability, and it should be reviewed once per annum. A WOL policy can be set up on standard cover or maximum cover. The premium will vary depending on the options taken. To decide which type is suitable, please contact us for additional information.
Don’t pay more tax than necessary on your death. Call us today to put the right combination of policies in place for you in order to mitigate as much tax as possible. Equity Release is a lifetime mortgage. To understand the features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration. Levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the individual.
70% of the UK population do not have a valid Will. These are just a few reasons why it is important not to die intestate (without a will).
The Court of Protection will decide what happens to your children. This may not necessarily be who you would have chosen yourself.
It is wrongly assumed that your nearest and dearest will automatically receive these assets. It can be a long and complicated process to distribute these and not always to those assumed. This can cause rifts in the families where one party remembers being “promised" a particular heirloom.
Without a Will, this can be a particularly stressful time for families having to locate a lifetime of paperwork and arrange for payments to be made once Probate has been granted. This process could take years. Wouldn’t you much rather they could sit back and celebrate your life?
Funeral arranging and organ donation for a loved one can be terribly difficult and painful for your family to agree as to what your last wishes might be. Why put them through that?
We believe that its so important to make sure that your affairs are in order in the event of your death so nothing is left to chance. We are qualified Will Writers and therefore we make sure that your wishes are not only carried out but the process will happen quickly with minimum stress. Once you have written your will its very important that those left behind know where to find it. We offer a lifetime Will storage facility that removes all the worries about your Will being lost when its required, for a one off fee.
We charge a lot less than a solicitor will charge as we believe its so important that everyone writes a will so we don’t want to put you off doing it by charging high fees. Our fees start from as little as £95 for a single will. Not a lot of money for peace of mind!
If you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself, a stranger could be appointed to make the decisions for you, even if your family knows what your wishes are.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is equally as important as a Will.
The Alzheimer’s Society predicts by 2021 over One Million will have dementia in the UK, therefore many more families will battle with the Court of Protection.
Early dementia is increasing for the age group 25 – 40
Loss of capacity leads to bank accounts and investments being frozen – Even Those In Joint Names!
Your family will have to apply to The Court of Protection; this is a Long, Expensive and Stressful process!