Avoiding lifes pitfalls
PUBLISHED: 14:05 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:48 20 February 2013
Whilst not everything in life can be planned for, there are a number of simple steps you can take to avoid disaster striking, Foreman Laws' private client team offer some advice
Estate planning & wealth management
Despite an increased level of awareness of the impact of Inheritance Tax on the estates of the moderately wealthy, many remain blissfully unaware of their liability and may not appreciate how the tax burden can be reduced or avoided.
The cornerstone of all Inheritance Tax planning is a properly drawn Will. A Will is one of the most important documents an individual can complete but for most of us, working or retired, leading busy lives, making a Will does not appear urgent.
Many people die without writing a Will, leaving behind legal problems for their families and dependants which may take years to resolve. The dependants may face a period of financial hardship and uncertainty - in some cases the family home may be at risk.
Your Will can include trusts to protect your children whilst maximizing the value of any Trust Fund until a specified age.
You need to be aware that if you do not make a Will stating your intentions the law will decide for you. Your estate may pay inheritance tax unnecessarily and your spouse and children may have to share the estate with someone that you do not wish to benefit so to ensure that your wishes are carried out take the time to make a Will.
Living together agreement
When entering into a new relationship, the last thing on people's minds tends to be what happens if it all goes wrong. Foreman Laws advise clients to consider entering into a 'Living Together' agreement. Such an agreement would form a contract and could regulate such matters as shares in property, together with plans for day to day finances. It can also set out what happens on separation, for example who would have to leave the home, what time they would have to vacate the property and how they would be bought out of their share.
Pre-nuptial agreements are not just for the celebrities of this world, they can help protect your assets upon marriage. Pre-nuptial agreements can be flexible and can be written to take account of change of circumstances, in particular the birth of a child or the length of a relationship, it can also record what should happen to inherited assets. Whilst it is correct to say that these agreements are not watertight they are now becoming recognised by the English Courts where the people have taken independent legal advice before signing.