Estate Planning and Elderly Law
Planning for your future requires a combination of balancing and organising your assets in the most tax efficient way, both during your lifetime and at the time of your passing.
This should not be seen as something you should only do in your later years, but should ideally be a project which evolves over your lifetime.
Estate planning encompasses a range of methods in order to give gifts to loved ones during your lifetime and act as a way of mitigating possible inheritance taxes in addition to other taxes on your passing.
Planning ahead can be beneficial to your estate and to your loved ones, and can include the following:
- Using your tax free annual allowance
- Giving gifts on birthdays, weddings and special occasions
- Giving gifts within your income
- Lifetime gifts
- Potentially Exempt Transfers (otherwise known as the 7 year rule)
- Utilising your nil rate band (currently £325,000)
- The creation of Trusts
- Ownership of your Property
There are different ways to own your property which can allow you to pass your interest in your property to your loved ones in your Will. This is sometimes known as a Life Interest Clause, which involves a severance of your ownership creating a Tenancy in Common, which we can advise you on.
Whilst there are many positive outcomes of planning in advance, with changes in the law such as the new Care Act 2014, there are also some negative consequences if the correct advice is not given and tailored to your circumstances and individual wishes. These can be:
- Deprivation of Assets (for example, giving away large gifts)
- Reservation of Benefit (relating to your home)
- Mitigating care home fees
- Ill-planned giving of gifts during your lifetime
- Tax consequences
For more information about Deprivation of Assets and Reservation of Benefit, download our helpful guide in the documents box.
This is why at John Fowlers Solicitors, we ensure that you leave your initial estate planning meeting with a full understanding of the processes available to you and the implications of any decisions you may wish to take. This allows you to deliberate the different options available specifically to you and your estate.
If you decide that you do not wish to go ahead at the present time with any of the estate planning advice, it is still important you are aware of what you can do, in the present and of course, the future.
Estate Planning & Elderly Law FAQs
How are care home fees assessed?
It is common practice when care homes are assessing people for care home fee contributions to consider whether they have intentionally deprived themselves of assets. Therefore care homes will regularly look back into people’s financial transactions to establish whether they have deprived themselves of any large assets. It is important to note that this is currently the law as it stands; whether this will change in the future in relation to care fees is uncertain.