Putting together a will is a serious task and not one that people tend to relish. There's a lot to think about, including the opportunities for tax planning and how to put them into place. That is where experienced chartered accountants such as BSR Bespoke can step in.
Expert advice on tax and accountancy matters relating to wills
Our highly skilled team can simplify the process by providing assistance in various ways, including:
- Qualified advisors can review your will to ensure that it meets your requirements; and that your assets are distributed as you wish.
- It is an opportunity to arrange your affairs in the most tax-efficient way, in order to be able to pass on as much of your estate to your beneficiaries as possible.
- It is especially sensible when handling a more complicated estate - for example, one that includes an array of pensions, overseas property and/or business assets. Perhaps there is uncertainty regarding your domicile status. And if your estate is over the inheritance tax threshold, there will be many actions you can take now to reduce the IHT bill.
- Accountants can advise on the use of trusts to make financial provision for your loved ones. Trusts can help in a variety of ways: providing for disabled dependents; protecting property you wish to bequeath; or ensuring children from a previous relationship inherit your assets, even if you have a new spouse or partner. Trusts carry income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax implications.
Why engage chartered accountants to assist with your will?
Chartered accountants, such as BSR Bespoke, have in-depth knowledge and experience across the financial sector. They are well-versed in all areas of inheritance tax law, allowing them to guide you through the process and provide practical advice.
Our team takes time to get to know your personal circumstances, understand your estate and consider whom you wish to benefit. When taking instructions about who should receive what from your estate, we can help you take into account the tax implications of each gift. In some cases, such as leaving gifts to charities or trusts, there may be advantageous income and capital gains tax consequences for those involved. We can help you minimise your exposure to inheritance tax, and maximise any potential inheritance tax reliefs. Without the help of an accountant, it is unlikely that you will be able to accurately account for all the taxes associated with inheritance from your estate. An accountant not only understands tax laws but can also help identify any potential ways to minimise or eliminate taxes due on your estate. This could potentially mean significant savings down the line for your beneficiaries when it comes to any taxes due upon inheritance. From making gifts to investing in companies that qualify for business relief (BR), there are myriad options available to you. Find out more about Inheritance tax planning and how BSR can help.
Further, accountants can advise on when to use life interest trusts and when to use discretionary trusts. We will clarify the rules around gifts, the difference between specific gifts and general legacies, generic gifts, who bears the cost of transfer, and gifts of personal chattels. We can also advise on how to choose executors/trustees.
Our charges are based on estimated time and hourly rates, not a percentage of your estate.
Putting in time and thought now will pay off, securing your assets as much as possible, and affording your loved ones protection in the future.
What else do I need to think about regarding wills?
Every five years, or after a major life change such as getting divorced, moving house or having a child, it is wise to review your will. Getting married cancels your existing will. You should consider changing your will if you buy an expensive asset - for example, a second home. Our professional team can help you review your existing will and advise you as to whether it is preferable to amend your will or draw up a new will altogether.
You may wish to appoint chartered accountants as your executors. This ensures that taxes due are paid promptly and accurately. It also gives your family reassurance at a difficult time, safe in the knowledge that a professional is handling the estate.
Will review - a case study
Jane, who lives in Sussex, is married with two young children and two adult stepchildren. She owns a successful business and recently inherited some valuable paintings. Her assets mean that her estate is now considerably above the IHT threshold. She came to us for advice on reviewing her will in order to arrange her affairs in the most tax-efficient way.
We reviewed her business structure in order to ensure the maximum benefit for Business Relief is available.
We advised on suitable lifetime gifts that reduce the value of her estate, immediately mitigating the potential exposure to IHT.
We considered the use of a trust to hold certain paintings and artwork. Whilst this requires a rental payment for those pieces of art that Jane keeps at her home, there will be a long-term IHT saving.
Jane’s will now incorporates trust provisions so that, should Jane predecease her husband, he will be provided for during his lifetime and her capital assets will be protected for her children in the future.
A review of Jane's circumstances will be undertaken in a few years’ time or sooner, if Jane is looking to retire or sell her business.
If you are looking for accountancy and tax advice regarding your will, our team are here to help guide you. Please get in touch today for an informal consultation.