Christmas is a traditional time of year for giving, but it’s also a time for reflection and the new year makes us look to the future.
Once all the food has been eaten, and it’s too cold to go outside, take the opportunity to put your affairs in order. Maybe it’s time to complete your self assessment tax returns or plan further gifts for the year as part of your inheritance tax planning.
Since most of us do not like to think too far into the future, many executors face a nightmare task of locating all the information they need in order to apply for probate and tie up estates once someone has passed away. Of course they can hand over this time-consuming work to someone else to do, such as a solicitor or accountant, but this will eat into the finances and delay probate unnecessarily. It’s much more sensible to use professional services for technical work.
You may already keep a list of all your assets, accounts, liabilities, insurances and so on, but you probably haven’t shared it with the people who will need to know that one day. Even if you have this list, do you update it regularly enough?
So here are our top tips to while away a winter’s day.
- Set up a list of all your accounts and key life admin documents. You could use
- a spreadsheet package such as Excel which has limitations, including that it can be difficult to share selectively, it should be password protected and someone else should know what the password is in the event of your demise.
- A dedicated package. We recommend Zenplans, a package which allows you to update all your information simply, but you can also grant access to certain pieces of information to key people. For example, you could give access now to your will to your solicitor, your house insurance to your spouse, access to your bank accounts to your son, but only when you pass away, and access to everything except your social media accounts to your accountant. Your changes are updated in real-time and can be shared immediately, removing the need to print off and distribute paper copies and the risk of administrators having out of date information.
- If you already have a way of recording your information, that’s a good start. You should however check that it’s up to date, and ensure that whoever needs it has access to it. It should be checked and updated regularly; you may have to rewrite it time and time again as time goes by and things change!
- If you are considering making gifts, get in touch and we can help you work out the most tax efficient manner. Too many people pay large amounts in inheritance tax or capital gains tax when they do not need to.
If you would like to reduce your tax liability and help your dependents, please do get in touch with our experts. We can provide many services relates to inheritance tax planning.