An LPA for any occasion

Lasting Powers of Attorney ~ Case Study 1

Existing client Wendy telephoned us in the middle of last year. Wendy advised us that her husband, Harry, had been diagnosed with early onset dementia and ask for a consultant to visit. Our consultant met Wendy and Harry a few days later at their home. We advised the couple to create Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) for Property and Financial affairs as well as for Health and Welfare whilst Harry had the mental capacity to do so. Our advice was accepted and Casey & Associates facilitated the creation of full LPAs for both Clients; with Wendy and both of the Client’s children appointed as attorneys for Harry and the children only as attorneys for Wendy.

As Harry’s mental condition declines the LPAs are becoming more and more useful; Wendy has benefitted from unrestricted access to bank accounts jointly held with her husband as well as the solely held account that his pension is paid in to. Furthermore, as a family, Wendy and her children have been able to make decisions about Harry’s increasing care needs. Without having the LPAs in place the situation would have been very different; Wendy may not have been able to continue to access even jointly held back accounts and certainly would not have been able to access Harry’s sole account. Furthermore, decisions about Harry’s care would not have been so easy had it not been for the Health & Welfare LPA we had helped to put in place.

Lasting Powers of Attorney ~ Case Study 2

We carried out a client review appointment with Dorothy early last year. Dorothy has been a school teacher for her lifetime. She never married and never had children. After retiring she became very active in the local community. Dorothy has a bungalow and quite substantial savings. Having previously been very sprightly, she was becoming increasingly unable to get out and about as easily as she had been and, as a result, was becoming increasingly reliant on a good friend who lived locally. Our consultant advised Dorothy that now was the time to put LPAs in place before her health declined any further. Our advice was accepted and Casey & Associates did the rest. Dorothy appointed her friend, Margaret, as her attorney and, on our advice, Dorothy appointed her niece as well. Although Dorothy’s niece lived quite a distance away, Margaret was not much younger than Dorothy and we felt a “backup” was needed should anything happen to Margaret.

Just before Christmas Margaret unfortunately had a fall and broke her leg. Although she is now discharged from hospital she will be housebound for quite some time. Dorothy has not suffered as a result of Margaret’s accident, however, as her niece has been able to continue to look after her aunt’s affairs.

Last week Margaret gave us instructions as she recognised that her change in circumstances would be best addressed by having LPAs herself. Margaret’s three children were all appointed as attorneys. Once the LPAs are registered Margaret’s children will be able to look after all aspects of their mother’s affairs while she continues to convalesce.

If you would like one of our Consultants to visit you to discuss LPAs please telephone 01732 868190 or click here to arrange an appointment.

funeral plan

The True Value of a Funeral Plan

Vivian (54) had her life turned upside down when her father, Joseph (84), passed away suddenly in November last year. Vivian’s mother, Juliet (82), had been housebound for some years due to dementia and Joseph was her carer. Joseph was very fit and well for a man of his age and his death was totally unexpected, leaving everyone in the family somewhat shell-shocked.

Due to her mother’s ill health Vivian was faced with the prospect of having to administer her late father’s estate on her own. Whilst her brother, Neil (58), was also an executor of Joseph’s estate he lived at the other end of the country to his sister and would not be able to readily assist her. Joseph left a valid Will but the Will did not contain any funeral wishes. Vivian was unable to get any guidance from her mother in this regard and so had to make all of the pertinent decisions herself.

When I discussed the administration of her late father’s estate with her, Vivian advised that the most difficult aspects of the role were all funeral related. She confessed to being in a “daze” most of the time and being upset about the sudden loss of her father and having to deal with such things straightaway was very difficult for her. Firstly, she had the task of deciding what type of funeral her late father wanted. Perhaps understandably, it had never come up in conversation during his lifetime and Vivian had no idea what her late father’s preference was between burial and cremation. Having decided upon a cremation for her late father, Vivian then had to visit an undertaker to choose a coffin and the type of service required. Vivian found this particularly upsetting as it was a constant reminder to her of the loss of her father, coupled with the uncertainty that she was perhaps choosing something that he would not have wanted.

The cost of the funeral was close to £6000. This was money that Vivian simply did not have. On top of everything else she had to contend with, she was now under added pressure to somehow come up with the money to pay for her late father’s funeral. Thanks to a benevolent neighbour who lent Vivian the money, the funeral was eventually paid for but she is now paying the neighbour back in instalments which is not ideal. “In hindsight I wish my father had put a pre-paid funeral plan in place. If he had done so, it would not only have saved me the upset of having to arrange everything at a time when I was very upset indeed, but I would also not have had to get in to debt in order to cover the cost. Above all else, I would have had the peace of mind to know my father was getting exactly the funeral he wanted. As soon as I am able, I will definitely be purchasing a funeral plan for my mother. I can’t go through all of that again.”

If you would like further information on funeral plans please do not hesitate to click here or telephone us on 01732 868190 requesting details of the options available.

consultant

A day in the life of a Casey & Associates consultant

Every client we meet has a different set of circumstances, needs and requirements. That is one of the reasons why being a Casey & Associates consultant is so interesting. Here is a snapshot of the clients one of our Consultants met last week. Client names are changed to protect privacy and identity.

Client 1

Jim (79) & Mary (76) – married couple and existing Casey & Associates Clients who recently underwent a three-yearly review of their circumstances. Previously supplied with Life Interest in Property Trust Wills and Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney by Casey & Associates. Mary had asked me to visit because Jim had very quickly developed advanced dementia since the review. My advice focussed on Mary, who was keen to take care of whatever she needed to on her side of things. Her son and daughter were also present and I recommended some Will amendments to remove reference to her husband to avoid the potential for assets to unnecessarily be assessed for care fees and a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney to compliment the financial version she already has. My advice has been accepted and instructions have been duly taken. Mary was so pleased Jim had previously signed a Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial affairs. Without it the family would have found the current situation even more stressful. Mary and her children are happy everything is now in order.

Client 2

Martin (47) & Janet (45) – unmarried couple. No existing estate planning provision. Janet has two adult children from a previous relationship and solely owns the property the couple live in. I advised the couple to have Wills, with Janet’s Will providing Martin with a life interest in the principal private residence with her children as its ultimate beneficiaries, and full Lasting Powers of Attorney. We also discussed Inheritance Tax which can be more harsh for unmarried couples than married couples. For the moment their assets keep them below the Inheritance Tax band. However, Martin and Janet are now aware of their position and know to contact me if their situation changes. They requested some time to consider their options and have subsequently contacted me to advise that they would like to proceed with my advice and a follow-up meeting has been arranged. They advised that they feel my advice covers everything they thought they needed and was explained in a way that made sense.

Client 3

Barbara (70) – divorced. Has an old Will and an Enduring Power of Attorney. Barbara’s daughter is an existing Casey & Associates Client and wanted me to meet her mother to discuss protecting her home against long-term care fees. I explained how putting her home in to a protective trust could safeguard against this and she decided to proceed. Furthermore, the trust will help Barbara’s family when Barbara passes away because the family home can be sold before Inheritance Tax needs to be paid which means the family will have funds to pay the tax without having to obtain a loan. Barbara also gave me instructions for a pre-paid funeral plan which would take away the financial burden on her family when she passed away. We discussed Lasting Powers of Attorney. Barbara felt she would like more time to consider the benefits of Lasting Powers of Attorney compared to her Enduring Power of Attorney. I handed her a “factsheet” and will contact Barbara in due course regarding this. As a goodwill gesture I included a “refreshed” Will as part of the service and Barbara was very happy with the outcome of our meeting, as was her daughter.

Client 4

Clive (75) & Violet (73) – married couple and existing Casey & Associates Clients, recently underwent a six-yearly review of their circumstances. Previously supplied with Life Interest in Property Trust Wills by Casey & Associates. I recommended full Lasting Powers of Attorney to compliment the Wills they already have. They had already heard that Lasting Powers of Attorney would be a good idea and were therefore pleased to have this view endorsed by me. Clive and Violet liked the fact that I would personally be taking them through the entire process of creating their LPAs from start to finish and this was a big determining factor in them deciding to proceed with issuing me with their instructions. Sadly their only child had recently died and so we talked about how assets could be distributed to their grandchildren. I was able to give Clive and Violet some special technical advice which will ensure that their grandchildren can inherit whilst still making use of the maximum Inheritance Tax allowances. Although Clive and Violet were desperately sad at having lost their only child they were comforted to know that their Estate Plan had been brought “up to date”.

bruce forsyth

Nice to reduce Inheritance Tax, to reduce Inheritance Tax nice!

With inheritance tax (IHT) never far from the headlines, it came even more to the forefront earlier this year with the news that Bruce Forsyth had left his £17m fortune to his wife “to avoid inheritance tax”. Various media outlets reported how Forsythe had exploited a legal loophole in order to avoid the taxman, but did he really?

The reality is that what amounts to lazy journalism sensationalised what was actually a very straightforward estate planning strategy. In a nutshell, an individual can leave their entire estate, regardless of value, to their spouse or civil partner and there is no IHT to pay. This is known as “spousal exemption” and there is no upper limit.

On top of the standard £325,000 nil rate band allowance available to all, an additional allowance was launched earlier this year; the residential nil rate band. This applies where a house is being left to a person’s direct descendants and equates to an additional £100,000 which can be claimed against the value of the house in order to keep it out of IHT calculations. In the same way a deceased’s spouse or civil partner’s unused nil rate band may be claimed against the estate of the second spouse or civil partner upon their death, so can the residential nil rate band also be claimed, giving an overall exemption, by tax year 2020/21 of up to £1 million; £325,000 + £325,000 + £175,000 + £175,000 = £1m

So, whilst the Forsyth family has avoided IHT for now, his wife will have to be creative during her lifetime in order to mitigate the liability her estate faces on her death if she doesn’t act. Again, lazy journalism states she is limited to giving away up to £650,000 free of IHT, but the reality is she can gift away as much of her inheritance as she wishes during the course of her lifetime. This is not thanks to any shady underhanded dealings, but rather taking advantage of the 7-year gift rule available to the common man and the rich and famous alike; give away as much as you like, survive seven years and the asset no longer forms part of your estate. Given her age, it is not unlikely that Bruce Forsyth’s widow will survive long enough for any assets she gifts away to pass to the beneficiaries free of IHT…a real Brucie bonus!

If you would like personalised advice concerning IHT please do not hesitate to contact us so that one of our consultants can visit you to discuss your circumstances. Please telephone 01732 868190 or click here to book an appointment.

Case Study: Mr & Mrs Smith

Mr & Mrs Smith (not their real names) responded to one of our contacts a few months ago and a Casey & Associates consultant visited them at their home. Mr & Mrs Smith are in their sixties and had married each other five years previously. This is the second marriage for each of them. Each first marriage ended in divorce. Mr Smith has four children from his first marriage and Mrs Smith has one child from her first marriage. Mr & Mrs Smith are living in Mrs Smith’s family home whilst Mr Smith’s family home is rented out to provide income in addition to pensions. Mr Smith’s four children get on well with Mrs Smith but, unfortunately, Mrs Smith’s daughter did not get on well with Mr Smith.

Mr & Mrs Smith had brought quite differing amounts of assets to this marriage and were worried about how to distribute everything to the children. They were also concerned that distribution of their assets could be influenced by the order in which they died. There was the added problem that Mrs Smith’s daughter did not get on well with Mr Smith and his children.

We were able to create an Estate Plan based on an in-life trust that would last through to second death together with Wills with trusts that would protect assets between first and second death. Furthermore, working with a specialist partner some funds were invested on a basis which reduced the likely Inheritance Tax liability. Lasting Powers of Attorney were set up but not on “family” lines. Mrs Smith asked for her daughter to be present during one of our planning meetings and it became clear that it had been the uncertainty of succession which had caused the rift between Mrs Smith’s daughter and Mr Smith and his family.

The Estate Plan we created gave both Mr & Mrs Smith and their respective children an agreed succession plan and thus much “Peace of Mind”, reduced their Inheritance Tax liability and helped to improve the relationship between Mrs Smith’s daughter and Mr Smith and his children. This has been a particularly pleasing result.

It is always our aim to meet all the needs of every single one of our clients. For free, no-obligation advice on Will Writing, Estate Planning and more, click here.