• Yorkshire: 01423 520 052 | North East: 0191 232 8391 | Edinburgh: 0131 600 0052 | London: 020 3011 5252

Protection

7 Great Reasons Why You should Plan For Death!

1024 683 Jo Nickell Lean

By Grant Ellis, Director Ellis Bates Group

In 1789 Benjamin Franklin said there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. We all seem happy to talk about taxes, but less keen on discussing, or planning for our ultimate demise. It’s as if by talking about it we are somehow tempting fate. But it can bring tremendous peace of mind not only to the planner, but also to their loved ones to know that a well thought out programme is in place for their eventual departure. Here are 7 good reasons why you shouldn’t put off planning for it – old or young.

Dying without leaving a Will is not a good idea

If you haven’t made a Will, then when you die, everything you own will be shared out according to the law instead of in accordance with your wishes. This could mean your estate passes to someone you hadn’t intended – or that someone you want to pass things on to ends up with nothing. For example, if you’re not married and not in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die. If you’re married, your husband or wife might inherit most or all of your estate and your children might not get anything (except in Scotland). This is true even if you’re separated. If you have children or grandchildren, how much they are legally entitled to, will depend on where you live in the UK. All of this can be avoided if you make a Will, setting out your wishes.

Oh, and if you needed any more persuading, if you do die without having left a Will, all your assets are likely to be frozen until the estate is sorted out, which can mean hardship for your loved ones in the meantime. And it’s much more expensive to use the courts to reconcile an estate, so there’ll be less left over for your family too. It really is a ‘no brainer.’

For more information visit https://www.ellisbates.com/individuals/inheritance/

Make provision for if you are no longer capable

A good number of us can expect to lose our mental capacity as we get older and this can be just as difficult for the family to deal with as death, if not more so. It’s therefore prudent to not only leave a Will but also Lasting Powers of Attorney for our finances and our health and welfare. These will give our family or trusted loved ones the capacity to make decisions on our behalf when we’re no longer able to, ensuring that bills get paid, and that any decisions about our health can be made by those who are closest to us.

Document your health preferences up front

You should also consider leaving a ‘Living Will’ which is a statement of your wishes intended to guide your family (when you are not able to make the decision yourself) about what treatment you might want in various scenarios. This will give them the confidence that they are acting in accordance with your actual wishes rather than trying to second guess you.

Don’t leave your young family in the lurch

All of this is especially important if you have dependants, but it’s not the only thing that needs to be addressed. Too many of us assume that if anything happens to us, the state will step in and look after our family. That may be the case up to a point, but it won’t be easy on those you leave behind. Much better to take out some low cost life assurance when you’re young, to pay out if anything happens to you. This will give your family a cushion to tide them over should your income be lost to them, or alternatively you have to pay for childcare if your partner is no longer around. It’s only really necessary whilst you have financial responsibilities to others, so can lapse once the mortgage is paid off and the kids have finished education. It is surprisingly inexpensive too.

For more information visit https://www.ellisbates.com/individuals/financial-protection/

Talk to each other about what you want to achieve with what you leave behind

We’ve all seen the TV dramas, where the family solicitor reads out the deceased’s Will, and everyone is shocked by what it contains. Unless you’ve a vindictive streak, that is not really how it should be. It’s much better to talk to your loved ones openly and candidly about your assets, and what you’d like to do with them when you pass on. Often there are 3 generations to consider, and an open and frank discussion, perhaps aided and abetted by your financial adviser will help to make sure everyone understands what your plans are. It may be for example that you initially expect to leave your assets to your children, but they may prefer it if you left them to their children instead. Discussing such things up front helps set everyone’s expectations, and avoids any conflict and disappointment later on.

Plan early to leave more to your family and less to the taxman

Inheritance tax is a tax on the estate, and is potentially payable at a rate of 40% once the estate has a value of over £325,000. So if you are leaving behind a substantial estate, you could be leaving your loved ones with a large tax bill too. However, with some simple planning you can significantly reduce the amount of tax payable. It’s a complicated area so you should seek some specialist advice from a financial adviser, preferably one who is affiliated to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Make a plan for your funeral

The last thing your family will want to do in the days following your demise is argue about what they think you may have wanted for your funeral, so leave them some instructions. Things like burial or cremation, whether you want a religious service or not, what songs or music you’d like to have played, and whether or not you want it to be a celebration of your life or a more sombre affair. All these decisions can be taken up front and take away any pressure on the family at what will be a difficult time.

Hopefully I’ve persuaded you that there are at least seven really good reasons why you should plan for your death now rather than put it off into the future. So, what are you waiting for?

Ellis Bates Financial Advisers are independent financial advisers with offices across the United Kingdom. They specialise in Estate Planning and manage over £1 billion of assets on behalf of clients, who have given them a 4.9/5.00 score with Trustist https://www.ellisbates.com/about/reviews/

For more information please visit their website www.ellisbates.com

Lifestyle Protection

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

One in five self-employed and contract workers unable to survive a week without work. The world of work has changed enormously over the past 20 years. Being self-employed, freelance or working on a contract basis has become the norm for all sorts of professions. Although it has many benefits, working for yourself means that the responsibility for providing a financial safety net shifts from the employer to the individual. New research has highlighted the precarious nature of self-employed people’s finances.

Financial Support

A survey[1] of the financial health of self-employed, part-time and contract workers reveals that if an accident or illness prevented them from working, more than one in ten (11%) wouldn’t be able to last any time without using long-term savings, while 30% would run out of money in less than a month. And 48% said they couldn’t turn to friends or family for financial support, while one in ten said they would be forced to turn to credit cards or payday loans.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of self-employed workers in the UK increased from 3.3 million in 2001 to nearly 5 million in 2019[2]. While a quarter (25%) of those surveyed said they would seek help from the state, benefits provide little or no support for this group.

Income Protection

Some self-employed people wrongly believe they would not be eligible for income protection if they fell ill and couldn’t work. However, Statutory Sick Pay isn’t available to self-employed workers, and for those workers that are eligible, the maximum that can be claimed is just £94.25 a week versus the average outgoing of £262.83[3] a week for self-employed or contract workers.

More than half (55%) have no life insurance, private medical insurance, critical illness cover or income protection should they find themselves unable to work due to illness or injury.

More Time off Work

Nearly half of those surveyed (45%) worry that sickness will prevent them working. They also worry about consistency of earnings (37%), and over a third (35%) of those workers who took time off for illness or injury last year returned to work before they felt they had fully recovered. Half (50%) of these said they did so because they couldn’t afford to take any more time off work.

People in full-time employment commonly receive sick pay and life insurance through their employer, but self-employed people need to provide it for themselves. Although many self-employed people and contractors worry about the consequences of an accident or illness preventing them from working, too few are taking steps to protect themselves from any loss of earnings if they are unable to work.

Source data:

[1] Research among 1,033 UK self-employed, part-time, contract and gig economy workers between 1 October and 7 October 2019, conducted by Opinium on behalf of LV=.
[2] EMP14: Employees and self-employed by industry.
[3] Average monthly outgoings of £1,182.76 recorded from 1,033 UK self-employed, part-time, contract and gig economy workers between 1 October and 7 October 2019, conducted by Opinium on behalf of LV=.

Do you have a financial safety net in place?

Many self-employed people consider income protection insurance and critical illness cover in case they get too sick or injured to work, or suffer from a serious illness. Life insurance is also common for people who have dependents, such as a partner or children. If you have any concerns or want to review your protection requirements, please contact us.

Wealth transfer and the next generation

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

How to secure your family’s financial future.

We spend a lifetime generating wealth and assets but not many of us ensure that it will be passed to the next generation – our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and so on. Intergenerational wealth transfer is the passage of wealth from one family generation to the next.

It’s becoming increasingly important for more people to consider succession planning and intergenerational wealth transfer as part of their financial planning strategy. As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, we’re on the brink of a vast shift in assets, unlike any that we have seen before.

Wealth transfers

By 2027, it is expected that wealth transfers will nearly double from the current level of £69 billion, to £115 billion[1], coined as ‘the Great Wealth Transfer’ of the 21st century.

Intergenerational wealth transfer can be a huge issue for all family members concerned. If done well and executed properly, it can make a real difference to the financial position of the recipients. If misjudged or poorly handled, it can cause enormous issues, conflicts and resentments that are never forgotten nor forgiven.

Financial implications

One aspect that hasn’t been widely considered is the impact on other family members, and in particular children, as their parents think about selling their business or retiring from their career, perhaps selling their family home, and starting life in retirement.

It is important that children are prepared to deal with this process, not least so they are aware of the financial implications and how they may be affected. For instance, children may be expecting to receive a certain amount of money from their parents – particularly those who are selling a business – and end up disappointed. Conversely, they may not be expecting to receive anything, and are therefore not equipped to deal with a windfall.

Contributory factors

According to the King’s Court Trust, £5.5 trillion will move hands in the United Kingdom between now and 2055, with this move set to peak in 2035[2]. Why? Well, there are a number of contributory factors that account for this. The two main reasons are increased net worth and rising mortality rates.

For those approaching, or in, retirement, it’s important to have frank and open conversations with children about expectations and also whether children have the knowledge and understanding to manage financial matters.

Approaching retirement

This is not an easy exercise, as you may not want to discuss your financial affairs with your children. You may find your children’s eyes are opened when they see what their parents have been able to achieve financially. They may even want to know how they can do that themselves and change their own habits.

Everyone works hard to provide for their family, and perhaps even leave them a legacy. However, parents approaching retirement shouldn’t feel that their family is solely reliant on them, or that they need to be responsible for their children’s financial situation.

Expressing wishes

A good approach is to help your children establish their own strong financial footing and be ready for intergenerational wealth transfer. For instance, introducing them to your professional advisers can provide comfort that there is someone they can go to for advice.

Having open conversations with your children and expressing wishes and goals will also ensure that your family are all on the same page, which can help reduce potential conflict later when managing intergenerational wealth transfer. These are some questions you should answer as part of your intergenerational wealth transfer plans:

  • When did wealth enter my life and how do I think this timing influences my values and family relationships?
  • What impact does affluence have on my life and the lives of my next generation?
  • What was the key to my success in creating wealth and how might telling this story to my future generation be helpful?
  • What is my biggest concern in raising my children or grandchildren with affluence?
  • What conversations (if any) did I have with my own parents about money and wealth growing up?
  • How did my parents prepare me to receive wealth?
  • What lessons did I learn from my parents about money and finance that I would like to pass on to my heirs?
  • What family values would I like to pass down to the next generation and how do I plan on communicating this family legacy?
  • What concerns do I have about my adult children when it comes to inheriting and managing the family wealth?
  • How can I help prepare my beneficiaries to receive wealth and carry on our family legacy?

Between generations

Despite the vast amount of wealth likely to be passed down between generations, those in line for inheritance could end up being over-reliant on their expected windfall. The key will be to ensure younger generations are able to get involved and understand how to handle the wealth they will be inheriting, as well as being able to make good decisions about the wealth that they generate themselves.

You need to consider who will receive what and whether you want to pass your wealth during your lifetime or on death. These decisions then need to be balanced by the tax implications of any proposed planning. This is especially important at what can be a highly stressful time. By making advanced preparations, the burden of filing complicated Inheritance Tax returns can be reduced. It’s worth noting that UK Inheritance Tax receipts exceed £3bn from 17,900 estates[3].

Source data:
[1] Kings Court trust, ‘Passing on the Pounds – The rise of the UK’s inheritance economy’.
[2] Resolution Foundation, Intergenerational Commission. ‘The Million dollar be-question’.
[3] Prudential 2019.

Sign up to our estate planning seminars here

Why Silence Isn’t Necessarily Bliss

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Over six million adults refuse to discuss their will with loved ones. Making a Will is very important if you care what happens to your money and your belongings after you die, and most of us do. But have you tried to talk with your children about your Will? If that conversation isn’t happening, you’re not alone.

And it’s not only parents who are uncomfortable. Adult children may also be nervous about raising the topic of their parents’ finances for fear they appear greedy or nosy. Understandably, talking about dying can be seen as ‘taboo’ and it is not always easy to bring it up. However, discussing your Will with beneficiaries means they are better prepared when the time comes. However, worryingly, almost six and half million adults refuse to discuss their Will with loved ones according to new research[1]. A quarter (26%) of people with a Will say they will not discuss it as they do not want to think about dying, and one in four (27%) do not want to upset beneficiaries by discussing the contents of their Will[2]. It is also hugely important for family members to be aware of vital decisions in your Will, such as who will look after your children. By overcoming ‘death anxiety,’ the natural fear of talking about death and the emotions associated with it, these important conversations can ensure your beneficiaries are aware of your wishes and understand them. Nearly half (45%) of UK parents, the research identified, with adult children believe their Will is ‘no one’s business’ but their own or a partner’s. But sharing the contents of a Will makes the financial and practical consequences of death easier for those left behind. Losing someone can have a huge impact on finances for months or even years to come, so it is crucial for families to be prepared.

‘When I’m gone’ conversation with your partner or family

Avoid talking to someone when they’re busy. Look for opportunities to broach the subject, such as when you’re discussing the future or perhaps following the death of someone close to you

  • Consider beginning the conversation with a question such as, ‘Have you ever wondered what would happen…?’; ‘Do you think we should talk about…?’
  • Think about how you would manage financially should the worst happen. What impact would losing a partner or family member have on your household income and your expenses? Be aware that your financial situation may change in the future
  • Make sure you know where all important documents such as Wills, bank details, insurance policies, etc. are kept, so that you have all the information you might need
  • Prepare in advance – would you know how to manage the day-to-day finances? If not, consider how you could start to learn about them now so this doesn’t come as a shock

In the event of an illness, loss of capacity or death – are your plans in place?

Many of us will eventually reach a point in our lives when we require specialist assistance to ensure that our family will be able to cope better and manage their affairs in the event of an illness, loss of capacity or death. If you would like to review your particular situation, contact us to arrange an appointment.

Source data: [1] Royal London – six million figure is based on ONS adult population stats of 52.8million. Our research shows 47% of UK adults have a Will – 26% of this figure equates to 6,458,535.05 [2] Opinium on behalf of Royal London surveyed 2,006 adults between 26 and 29 October 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Life Insurance Protection

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Welcome to our Guide to Life Insurance Protection. It’s not easy to think about how you would secure your family’s future if you were no longer around. Understandably, we would rather not think of the time when we’re no longer around. But it’s important to protect the things that really matter – like our loved ones, home and lifestyle – in case the unexpected happens.

Full replacement value

For many of us, projecting ourselves into the future to see what‘s around the next bend is not an easy thing to do. But, without thinking, we insure our cars, homes and even our mobile phones – so it goes without saying that you should also be insured for your full replacement value to ensure that your loved ones are financially catered for in the event of your unexpected death. Making sure that you have the correct type and level of life insurance in place will help you to financially protect your family.

Life insurance provides a safety net for your family and loved ones, helping them cope financially during an otherwise difficult time. Ultimately, it offers reassurance that your family would be protected financially should the worst happen.

We never know what life has in store for us, so it’s important to get the right life insurance policy. A good place to start is asking yourself three questions: What do I need to protect? How much cover do I need? How long will I need the cover for?

Financial safety net

It may be the case that not everyone needs life insurance. But if your spouse and children, partner or other relatives depend on your income to cover the mortgage or other living and lifestyle expenses, then it will be something you should consider. Life insurance will make sure they’re taken care of financially.

So whether you’re looking to provide a financial safety net for your loved ones, moving house or you’re a first-time buyer looking to arrange your mortgage life insurance – or simply wanting to add some cover to what you’ve already put in place – you’ll want to make sure you choose the right type of cover. That’s why obtaining the right professional advice and knowing which products to choose – including the most suitable sum assured, premium, terms and payment provisions – is essential.

Seriously under-insured

The appropriate level of life insurance will enable your dependents to cope financially in the event of your premature death. When you take out life insurance, you set the amount you want the policy to pay out should you die – this is called the ‘sum assured’.

Even if you consider that currently you have sufficient life assurance, you’ll probably need more later on if your circumstances change. If you don’t update your policy as key events happen throughout your life, you may risk being seriously under-insured.

Protection will inevitably change

As you reach different stages in your life, the need for protection will inevitably change. How much life insurance you need really depends on your circumstances – for example, whether you have a mortgage, and whether you’re single or have children. Before you compare life insurance, it’s worth bearing in mind that the amount of cover you need will very much depend on your own personal circumstances, such as the needs of your family and dependents.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are your financial dependents: your husband or wife, registered civil partner, children, brother, sister or parents?
  • What kind of financial support does your family have now?
  • What kind of financial support will your family need in the future?
  • What kind of costs will need to be covered, such as household bills, living expenses, mortgage payments, educational costs, debts or loans, or funeral costs?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the amount of cover – as well as how long it lasts for – will vary from person to person.

These are some events when you should consider reviewing your life insurance requirements:

  • Buying your first home with a partner
  • Covering loans
  • Getting married or entering into a registered civil partnership
  • Starting a family
  • Becoming a stay-at-home parent
  • Having more children
  • Moving to a bigger property
  • Salary increases
  • Changing your job
  • Reaching retirement
  • Relying on someone else to support you
  • Personal guarantee for business loans

Current standard of living

The premiums you pay for a life insurance policy depends on a number of things. These include the amount of money you want to cover and the length of the policy, but also your age, your health, your lifestyle and whether you smoke.

If you have a spouse, partner or children, you should have sufficient protection to pay off your mortgage and any other liabilities. After that, you may need life insurance to replace at least some of your income. How much money a family needs will vary from household to household, so ultimately it’s up to you to decide how much money you would like to leave your family that would enable them to maintain their current standard of living.

Two basic life insurance types

There are two basic types of life insurance: ‘term life’ and ‘whole-of-life’. But within those categories, there are different variations. The cheapest, simplest form of life insurance is term life insurance. It is straightforward protection – there is no investment element, and it pays out a lump sum if you die within a specified period. There are several types of term insurance.

The other type of protection available is a whole-of-life insurance policy, designed to provide you with cover throughout your entire lifetime. The policy only pays out once the policyholder dies, providing the policyholder’s dependents with a lump sum, usually taxfree. Depending on the individual policy, policyholders may have to continue contributing right up until they die, or they may be able to stop paying in once they reach a stated age, even though the cover continues until they die.

Remove the burden of any debts

Generally speaking, the amount of life insurance you may need should provide a lump sum that is sufficient to remove the burden of any debts and, ideally, leave enough over to invest in order to provide an income to support your dependents for the required period of time.

The first consideration is to clarify what you want the life insurance to protect. If you simply want to cover your mortgage, then an amount equal to the outstanding mortgage debt can achieve that.

To prevent your family from being financially disadvantaged by your unexpected death, and to provide enough financial support to maintain their current lifestyle, there are a few more variables you should consider:

  • What are your family expenses, and how would they change if you died?
  • How much would the family expenditure increase on requirements such as childcare if you were to die?
  • How much would your family income drop if you were to die?
  • How much cover do you receive from your employer or company pension scheme, and for how long?
  • What existing policies do you have already and how far do they go to meeting your needs?
  • How long would your existing savings last?
  • What state benefits are there that could provide extra support to meet your family’s needs?
  • How would the return of inflation to the economy affect the amount of your cover over time?