COVID-19 EXPERT LEGAL INSIGHTS

Wills and estate planning - the right time
is right now

19 March 2020

In the current crisis, we find ourselves with time (perhaps too much time…) for worry and reflection over an uncertain future.


That reflection could usefully and responsibly be channelled, in part, to issues of Wills, tax planning and general succession.

While we should not need world events to remind us of the truth our own mortality and our responsibility, to ourselves and to our families, there is no doubt that this is a good time to make sure your Will is in good order.

Those of us who have been putting off making or revisiting a Will may now find time usefully to put something appropriate and effective in place. We should check that our Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) name attorneys  who are still appropriate, and that the letters of wishes accompanying any trust (existing or under our Will) are up to date. We should ensure, similarly, that our life insurance policies are properly in trust and the nomination form for any death-in-service benefit is both in place and reflects current desires and circumstances.

The Chancellor’s March Budget already seems to have happened a long time ago, given the immediate acceleration of other world events. Yet we must not lose sight of the fact that he did not, as was expected, tinker with the existing inheritance tax (IHT) regime, for the time being.

This means that IHT mitigation by lifetime giving, in particular, without immediate charge to IHT remains an opportunity that may need to be seized, soonest. The current substantial dip in share prices means that ever greater long term increases in value may escape inheritance tax, and any capital gains tax triggered by gifting will be more manageable or non-existent.

We recommend that you take more than a moment to consider succession and tax issues

  • Do you have a Will and is it up to date?
  • Have the right executors/trustees been appointed – and guardians for your children aged under 18
  • If there’s a letter of wishes accompanying the trust created by the Will, is it up to date in terms of your circumstances and thinking?
  • Can the Will be made to work better from an inheritance tax viewpoint?
  • Have you yet sensibly created Lasting Powers of Attorney for both property/finance and health/welfare for use should mental capacity to make decisions be lost? Are the persons appointed as attorneys still appropriate?
  • Is now the time to consider taking sensible steps to limit your family’s exposure to inheritance tax on your death?

Now is the time to talk to Kingsley Napley about succession and tax planning.

Our Private Client Department remains very much “open for business”.

We advise and assist clients effectively and immediately with succession and estate planning requirements using up to date technology, communication media and document production systems.

Our lawyers would be pleased to talk through your requirements and options over the telephone or Skype and you will find our advice expert and practical with true understanding of the place of such advice in the context of both family dynamic and the current climate of financial uncertainty.

In the first instance, please contact James Ward or Jim Sawer for a discussion in confidence. There is no charge for an initial consultation and review of your options and the likely cost of implementation.

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