Life Insurance

In addition to considering if equity release may assist your more immediate financial issues, it also makes sense (at any age) to ensure that you have in place plans for the beneficiaries of your estate, such as writing a Will. It would be wrong to assume that when the worst happens, the law would ensure that your estate went to your loved ones anyway, should there be no Will in place.

Dying Intestate (without a Will) may mean that your estate might not go to the people you intended; or in a way where it may not be shared out as you would have wished. And without a Will, the whole process is slowed down dramatically, often meaning that the family may face financial worries, whilst also having to cope with the loss of a loved one. Additionally, if you have a family member that's incapacitated, you would surely want to set out how they should be looked after. That's why a Will really should be a key aspect of your estate planning.

Equity Release, Releasing Equity in your house

Lasting Power of Attorney

This is another sensible agreement to have in place. In England, if a person loses their mental capacity, and their friends and family want to help organise things for them, they are not allowed to do so without one. The alternative is that they would have to apply to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy. The process can be a long, arduous and possibly costly one.

So it's far better to avoid this and have a Lasting Power of Attorney in advance. A similar process to the above is applicable elsewhere in the UK.

Inheritance Tax

For those who expect to have sufficient money to leave to others, Inheritance Tax may also be an issue to consider. The amount an 'individual' can bequeath free of IHT (called the 'nil rate band') is currently £325,000 for 2015-16. After that, your worldwide estate (including property) is taxable at 40% on any excess over the nil rate band. Albeit for couples - and dependant on what occurs on the first death - the threshold for the second spouse/civil partner could be up to as much as £650,000. You can also make use of the numerous IHT-exempt gift allowances during your lifetime.

Equity Release, Releasing Equity in your house

And, following the July Budget, from April 2017 each individual will be offered a further 'family home allowance' to help pass their home on to their children or grandchildren tax-free after their death. This allowance will be phased in and amount to £175,000 by 2020/21 (although there are certain rules regarding homes worth more than £2m).

We can assist in a number of areas and then liaise with other parties for your legal and tax advice. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Taxation and Trust advice or Will writing.

HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen.