The term Private Client is for us synonymous with family inheritance and succession planning. This includes the drafting of wills, inheritance tax advice, Lasting Powers of Attorney (including Enduring Powers of Attorney and applications to the Public Guardianship Office for Deputyships), UK tax for international clients, the administration of estates including those with international assets and a variety of different types of trusts.
We see the importance of teamwork in delivering this service to our Clients and the need from time to time to bring together a number of specialists to assist.
Timothy Kench & Co can provide specialist advice and assistance in these areas and would highlight the following:
The drafting of Wills is heavily regulated, there have been discussions about passing an Act of Parliament to force an approach but it was agreed that voluntary regulation would be tried first. As a result, two organisations particularly produced codes or the equivalent, the Law Society and also STEP, to raise the standards and to respond to the Government concerns.
The personal and financial circumstances of many today have become very complicated especially where there are assets abroad. Even for those where this is not so much the case, there are many matters to address when considering a Will. For example, where there are second families, trusts to be considered, assets abroad, lifetime loans outstanding, or issues of domicile, matters can be very challenging. We welcome instructions to prepare your will and will take you through some carefully guided steps to try to meet your requirements. It may well be possible to arrange for a home visit to discuss these matters if you wish.
It is very important for any Wills to be kept regularly under review and particularly those that involve an element of tax-planning, especially in the present economic climate.
This has become for many a very onerous tax and with careful planning in many cases much can be done to mitigate the effects on your estate. There are several routes to potentially follow from time to time which may be appropriate to your individual circumstances and these can be explored and discussed in depth with you. For instance, using exemptions each year, investments into BPR type shares, using income in excess of expenditure, various trust solutions, discounted gift plans, loan plans, funding pensions for children, smart will planning and more.
It is possible to appoint someone in advance to deal with your financial matters when you are becoming mentally incapable of handling your own affairs. We will be happy to survey your choices and decide with you the best way forward.
An important change occurred on 1st October 2007; the replacement of Enduring Powers of Attorney by Lasting Powers. The new regime now in place involves a complicated and not inexpensive procedure. You can set up both a Property and Affairs Lasting Power and/or a Personal Welfare Lasting Power. Lasting Powers of Attorney require registration to be effective.
Over the last few years we have seen a dramatic increase in Clients wishing to create Lasting Powers of Attorney, possibly as a result of increased media coverage. It is certainly a good idea to have one in place early but at least upon retirement and we would recommend one generally. Unfortunately, we often come across situations where it is too late to do so as the Client (usually an elderly relative of the person initially approaching us) lacks the necessary capacity to understand what is involved. It is therefore vitally important to discuss the creation of these Powers sooner rather than later and again, if you prefer, a home visit can normally be arranged.
Quite often clients approach us when an elderly relative has become incapable of managing their own affairs and a Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be entered into deal usually with a relative's financial affairs. Instead someone could be appointed as their Deputy instead by the Court of Protection. This involves a lengthy procedure to include a medical report and is not straightforward, but we have much experience of dealing with such cases. We would be able to advise on the best way forward and assist in this process.
Clients and their families appear to us to be moving around the world a lot more, their work patterns and lifestyles mean that people are choosing to live and work outside their country of birth. At times they go abroad to attend courses, maybe move with their jobs, or marry an overseas national and start a new life in a foreign country.
There is a lot to potentially consider and look at in this area of work; the issue of domicile, residence status, identifying where trusts and companies are resident, details of income, capital gains and inheritance taxes and their relevance and application, benefitting from the remittance basis. There are certain traps to be identified and wealth preservation opportunities to consider, there are the potential benefits and pitfalls of offshore trusts and offshore holding companies and advising the international client on the income, capital gains and inheritance tax consequences.
Do let us know if you require advice within this area of work.
Dealing with someone's estate when they die can be very demanding particularly for family and friends. The professional compliance requirements, the range of financial products, the existence of assets abroad and the inheritance tax regime and more can make the process challenging. It is just so easy for those not experienced to miss some important aspects in this process.
Recently there have been several reports in the press of how delays in the Probate process can affect people and their expectations and such reports have included reference to the increasing number of cases before the Courts disputing Wills. Executors have many potential personal liabilities certain of which they can protect themselves from. We seek to try to explain the process at the outset of each matter and, as far as possible, provide a time estimate.
We would be pleased to work with you to try to implement the wishes of the person who has died.
These structures are used in a variety of different contexts and not just for tax planning purposes and we are happy to advise on either their setting up, implementation or closure. Many solutions to family goals and needs can be found by using such structures. This is a complex area of law and our specialist Solicitor, Andrew Quaintance, would be happy to advise on each individual case. As before, a home visit can be arranged if desired.
Andrew has acquired the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) premier qualification TEP (Trust and Estate Practitioner). He has also recently obtained the STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes (mainly anticipating problems which could arise) and the STEP Advanced Certificate in International Succession and Probate to further strengthen his abilities in these areas. He welcomes instructions with international aspects.
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