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Financial Planning v Investment Management

Posted on: February 1st, 2023 by fwAdmin

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”

You have some money to invest – an inheritance or spare income after a pay rise, or perhaps you are reviewing your existing accounts – but are the investments you hold the most important piece of the puzzle?

Investing, on its own, can be done cheaply and easily, but it can be extremely worthwhile to pay for the professional services of an investment manager or financial planner to help manage your money effectively.

Investment management focuses solely on the investment of a client’s assets, with the investment manager making decisions on where your money is invested, usually targeting an agreed level of risk and timeframe. You can also incorporate personal preferences such as only investing in socially responsible companies. You benefit from the ongoing research carried out by the investment management firm, and their expertise in selecting the “best of breed” funds or shares from the 1,000’s that are available.

Financial planning looks at the bigger picture, creating a strategy for how your investments, savings and other assets can help to meet your financial objectives. Most importantly, this is based on your personal circumstances, making sure any plan is specific to the individual or family being advised. Your financial planner will help you work out your priorities and where compromises may need to be made to build a realistic and achievable plan for your future. For example, you may want to save for your retirement and already be investing in a pension, but do you know if you are saving enough or the age you could afford to stop working? Furthermore, do you have a strategy for taking an income when you do retire to make sure you don’t run out of money?

As with investing, you can create your own financial plan but the added advice and expertise from a financial planner can be invaluable, especially when you need an impartial opinion or reassurance during difficult times. As an example of where this hand holding can deliver results we can look back just 3 years to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. You may have been tempted to sell all your investments to cash when markets fell by 25% in the space of a month(1) but had you remained invested you would have achieved a +19% return by the end of the 2022 calendar year(2).

Financial planning and investment management go hand in hand with both aspects an important part of creating a solid long-term strategy. At Five Wealth, we believe the financial plan should be the starting point for anyone looking to start saving towards a financial goal or reviewing their existing arrangements. We then build an investment strategy around your personal risk appetite and financial goals. Regular reviews are essential to keep your financial plan on track and ensure the strategy and investments continue to meet your objectives and reflect any changes to your circumstances. We aim to create lasting ongoing relationships with our clients, developing a successful financial plan backed up by a strong investment strategy.

Five Wealth Ltd is a Chartered Financial Planning and Wealth Management firm based in Central Manchester. We provide independent financial advice to clients throughout the UK, managing assets of c.£660m. Our bespoke financial plans aim to meet the specific needs and circumstances of everyone we work with from business owners to individuals and families. Further information on our services can be found on our website here.

If you would like to discuss our financial planning services in more detail, please get in touch:

Amy Grace – Associate Director and Chartered Financial Planner

Email: amygrace@fivewealth.co.uk

Mobile: 07966 590 849

Your capital is at risk. The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The blog originally featured in the Manchester Law Society Messenger, February 2023.

Should I worry about inflation?

Posted on: November 4th, 2022 by fwAdmin

As published in the Manchester Law Society Messenger (Nov 2022) and can be viewed The Messenger November 2022 (legalrss.co.uk)

 

Should I worry about inflation?

No doubt you’ll have noticed the rise in costs as you fill up your car or do your weekly shop and although some costs have fallen we continue to see inflation at its highest levels in 40 years. But what does this mean for investments – should you sell everything (probably not), or pile all your cash in to markets to take advantage of the sell-off in share prices (also probably not).

Inflation started to rise at the end of 2021. Central banks around the world began to plan interest rate rises to bring inflation under control fairly quickly – at least that was the plan. It soon became clear that higher inflation was going to stick around for a while, but what has caused this surge in CPI?

Covid-19 vaccinations enabled economies to re-open and we saw a recovery in sectors that had been impacted by the pandemic. Monetary policy in developed markets remained accommodative, fuelling the pace of recovery and leading to supply shocks across global industries. An already steep rise in energy and raw material prices raised concerns about inflation and the prospect of central banks raising interest rates from historic lows. This was compounded by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 which sent oil and gas prices soaring further. Supply chain issues driven by sanctions on Russia, war zones in Ukraine and a zero Covid policy in China have all contributed to inflationary pressures. This perfect storm of events in the first half of 2022 led to high levels of price volatility in investment markets.

Investment markets hate uncertainty, and we have had uncertainty by the bucket load this year. This is nothing new and throughout history there have been events that have caused market crashes. Importantly, these are always followed by a recovery, and this time should be no different. The question is how long the recovery will take. This will depend on many factors, and it is of course impossible to know what is around the corner. With this in mind, I have set out some key things to remember when investing:

Five Wealth Ltd is a Chartered Financial Planning and Wealth Management firm based in Central Manchester. We provide independent financial advice to clients throughout the UK, managing assets of c.£660m. Our bespoke financial plans aim to meet the specific needs and circumstances of everyone we work with from business owners to individuals and families. Further information on our services can be found on our website: fivewealth.co.uk

We are proud to work closely with legal teams in Manchester to provide a holistic service to our clients and have sponsored the Manchester Legal Awards Private Client Team of the Year Award since 2017.

 

If you are looking to review your existing arrangements or would like to discuss your financial planning, please get in touch:

Amy Grace – Associate Director and Chartered Financial Planner

Email: amygrace@fivewealth.co.uk

Mobile: 07966 590 849

 

Your capital is at risk. The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.

Workplace Benefits – Don’t Underestimate Their Value

Posted on: November 1st, 2022 by fwAdmin

Workplace Benefits – Don’t Underestimate Their Value

An attractive employee benefits package can be key to recruiting and keeping high calibre employees and is a useful tool in remuneration discussions giving an employer the competitive edge when recruiting. An attractive benefits package shows an employer is committed to looking after the team and is financially secure enough to offer such perks. Employees who see the value of the benefits offered are less likely to look elsewhere.

Employees rightly place a high value on competitive contribution levels to a workplace pension. Many companies choose to pay more than the minimum Company contribution requirement of 3% to keep ahead of their competitors in attracting and retaining the right employees.

Employers and employees are increasingly recognizing the benefit of salary exchange to maximise contributions to a workplace pension. Salary exchange is the exchange of salary for a non-cash benefit which can be used to enhance pension contributions with the addition of the tax and National Insurance Contribution saving. Salary exchange is often described as a “win-win” for the majority.

Although useful you should be aware that using Salary Sacrifice essentially reduces your gross salary which can impact upon your borrowing limits and may affect the level of state benefits. As your salary is effectively reduced, this could impact the level of Death In Service that is available. Salary exchange is simple in theory but the practical detail of ensuring it is implemented correctly can be challenging. This is an area in which Five Wealth can provide guidance.

Workplace Pension Schemes should be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain fit for purpose. It is not as daunting a task to switch providers and introduce salary exchange as you may think.

A death-in-service scheme is a cost-effective way of providing a lump sum benefit, usually a multiple of salary, to employees who may not otherwise have life cover. On death, the tax lump sum payment gives support to the family left behind at a difficult time. Insurers cost a scheme, primarily, based on the number of lives to be covered, the level of cover, occupation and postcode. Once costed, insurers usually guarantee the cost for a maximum period of two years. At the end of the two-year period the cost of the scheme can increase substantially. Just as you would with a personal policy, you can negotiate better terms with the existing insurer or consider switching to a provider who can offer better terms.

Many providers now provide free ancillary benefits as part of the overall death-in-service package such as remote GPs, mental health support, physiotherapy, medical second opinions and life, money & wellbeing support. It is important to ensure these benefits are communicated to employees as a valuable additional benefit.

For those employers who really want to stand out from the crowd, group private medical and group permanent health insurance schemes offer additional benefits highly valued by employees. Private medical insurance not only benefits the employee but potentially their family. The employer benefits because health issues can be seen and dealt with more quickly giving peace of mind to the employee and a fast return to work.

A group plan does not require employees to take medical tests and can be much more cost effective, offering immediate cover for family members and to individuals who may otherwise find it difficult to obtain cover due to their age and medical conditions.

Permanent health insurance ensures the continuation of a proportion of an employee’s salary if they are unable to work – the average maximum is 60% of earnings. It’s called “permanent” because the insurer cannot cancel the policy no matter how often benefits are claimed. Mental health conditions, such as stress, depression, and anxiety, are all usually covered under the policy. A claim stops when the member has recovered sufficiently to return to work, reached retirement age or dies.

Employers can choose to offer group private medical insurance and group permanent health insurance to a select group of employees, usually key employees, to keep costs down.

Conclusion

Employers should consider the suite of benefits most important to them and their employees. When considering which product and provider to use it is important to review the whole market and regularly review the chosen product for suitability and to keep costs down.

Employees should be regularly reminded of the benefits package via annual meetings and presentations. Employers may also consider offering “one to one” annual meeting and “at retirement” advice as an added service.

Financial advisers can add value in this area, reminding you and your employees of the key benefits, regularly reviewing costs, ensuring compliance with legislation and being available to respond to queries that may arise.

In conclusion, it’s worth reviewing employee benefits, especially compared to what is offered by your competitors as this will be key to attracting and retaining high calibre employees. A good benefits package can boost morale, loyalty, and productivity amongst your existing team and, if you are looking to grow your business, having a benefits programme can help you attract and retain the best talent.

If you would like further information on anything covered in this article, please get in touch.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate employee benefits

What insurance do I need?

Posted on: September 22nd, 2022 by fwAdmin

What insurance do I need?

A common question our clients ask us is “What insurance do I need?”. The answer to that question is different for every client and requires us to delve deeper into their situation and objectives. What are they trying to protect against? What level of cover do they need? Do they already have appropriate cover through work?

In this Five with Five blogpost, we will cover five types of Protection explaining what they are and when they could be used.

Life insurance provides a cash lump sum if you are to pass away during the term of the cover. You can select a cover amount at the start of the policy, and this can stay level, increase or decrease over the term of the policy. Uses for Level cover can include protecting your family’s standard of living if you were to pass away by providing a lump sum that is set out at the policy start date or it could be used to cover the liability on an interest only mortgage. We often see this being used to insure against an inheritance tax bill in the short term, whilst longer term planning is brought into place to help reduce your Estate’s Inheritance Tax liability – you can read more about this in our other blog post HERE.

Should you wish to try and protect this lump sum against inflation, you can take out an increasing policy that will increase by a set rate each year e.g., RPI. Decreasing cover can be used to provide a lump sum that can be used to pay off a repayment mortgage as the cover amount will decrease in line with the remaining mortgage.

There are numerous other options of Term Assurance such as:

 

Critical Illness cover provides you with a cash lump sum should you be diagnosed with certain illnesses. This can help with paying for any medical expenses, clearing any debts or just to support your standard of living. Critical Illness cover is commonly combined with Life Insurance to provide full cover for any accident or illness that may severely impact a family’s financial situation.

Most Critical Illness plans have varying levels of illnesses and definitions of cover and do not cover pre-existing conditions, so it is important to ensure the plan is right for you.

Family Income Benefit is similar to term assurance but rather than a cash lump sum being paid out, a monthly income is paid to your family upon passing. It is similar to decreasing term assurance as the further into the policy you get, the total income you will receive decreases – this makes it a cheaper option. These monthly payments are tax free and will continue until the end of the term. This is most commonly used when a household relies solely on one individual’s income and would be in financial difficulty should that income cease through death.

Income Protection provides you with a regular (usually monthly) payment that replaces your income should you be unable to work due to illness or accident. The payments would end if you returned to work, reach the end of the term of the policy or pass away. Most insurers will only pay up to 60% of your salary so that you are encouraged to return to work. There is also a deferred period built into the policy of 4, 13, 26 or 52 weeks before any payment is made which can be used to help manage the costs of the policy – the longer the deferred period, the cheaper the cover.

For Income Protection, it’s important to choose your provider carefully as they all have different definitions of what they mean by incapacity to work – in order for a successful pay out, you need to meet this definition. Some may define incapacity as total inability to perform any part of your duties, for example, if an administrator could still pick up a phone then the insurance company may argue they do not meet this definition. Others may define incapacity as the inability to perform your main duties, for example, if the same employee could no longer come to the office to file post or use a computer, then this would meet the definition of ‘main duties’ and a claim would be successful.

Whole of Life insurance will pay out a lump sum to your family when you pass away. Typically, this type of insurance is expensive because it is guaranteed to pay out as there is no term, it is simply upon passing. This cover is often used to insure against an inheritance tax bill whilst longer term planning is brought into place to help reduce your Estate’s Inheritance Tax liability. Some policies include a regular review at which time the premiums may increase or the sum assured be reduced.

These are just some of the types of protection that are available and as always, the right type of cover is dependant of your situation. It our job to consider this alongside your wider assets, potential risk to you or your family, future goals and future planning opportunities to ensure that you have the right type and level of cover, at an appropriate premium, to protect your family/Estate.

It is important to remember that Life Assurance plans typically have no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse. Most plans will not cover pre-existing conditions, so it is important to disclose all information accurately and honestly to ensure coverage of any future claim is not impacted.

If this policy is to replace any existing policy offering the same type / level of cover, you must not cancel any existing policy until the new policy is in force.

If you would like further information on anything covered in this article, please get in touch via the contact page.

 

How to choose an adviser…

Posted on: August 25th, 2022 by fwAdmin

How to choose a financial adviser

Choosing a financial adviser can seem like a daunting task regardless of your experience with investments and financial matters. It’s typical to be bombarded with calls from prospective advisers when a business sale is announced in the press, or a promotion is made public on LinkedIn. A good relationship with a financial adviser should be built on trust and will usually span over many years, decades or even through multiple generations. How then, can you ensure that you choose a financial adviser that is right for you? Whilst the below list is not exhaustive, it sets out some of the main considerations and questions to ask:

Word of mouth is key

There is no substitute for a referral from a trusted friend, colleague, or another professional adviser such as a lawyer or accountant. Whilst there are plenty of IFA review sites available online, not all advice firms will be signed up to use them. Someone who knows your own personality and working style may be best placed to recommend an adviser that’s a good fit.

Ask lots of questions! A good adviser will welcome any and all questions (and they will be asking you a lot themselves). Their job is to make sure you understand the advice that’s being given, and you should never feel pressured into taking action that you are not comfortable with.

Service Level

What service will you be offered? How often will they meet you and will it be in person? Will they be happy to have ad hoc phone calls? Will you have one central point of contact? All advice firms should have a documented client service proposition which will answer several of the questions in this blog post. Ask the adviser to explain anything that you aren’t completely clear on.

Investments

Make sure you understand the adviser’s investment proposition. Do they manage their investments in house or are they outsourced to a third party? Do they prefer an active or passive approach, or a combination of the two? If ethical/sustainable investing is important to you, will they accommodate your needs? The adviser should explain the risk associated with any proposed investments and how that ties in with your financial planning strategy. Past performance figures can help with understanding how you might expect the investments to perform in certain market conditions, but they should not be relied upon as a forward looking forecast.

Fees

Advisers should be upfront about their fees as well as any fees relating to investments or platforms. They should be able to clearly explain what you will get for your money and demonstrate the value they are adding. We will shortly be publishing another blog post explaining the different layers of fees involved in obtaining and implementing financial advice.

Wider Planning

Many of our clients use several professional advisers, including accountants, solicitors and lending specialists. As there is often overlap between these areas, you should understand whether your adviser is happy to liaise directly with the other parties or sit in a joint meeting to ensure your affairs are joined up neatly. Often, your existing accountant or lawyer will be able to give you a referral to a quality financial adviser who they have worked with before.

Experience & Qualifications

The regulatory bodies have gradually been increasing the qualification requirements for advisers over the years, however there is still a range of levels. Whilst exams are no substitute for experience, it can be reassuring if the adviser or advice firm has attained chartered status, particularly when dealing with more complex planning situations.

Typical Clients

Whilst most advisers will cover a range of planning scenarios, they may have more experience in a certain area or size of client/investment. Ask them how often they deal with situations similar to your own and whether they can give any examples without compromising personal information.

Longevity & Succession Planning

Your financial planning needs will usually not retire when you do! With the increased popularity of flexible pension arrangements, and Inheritance Tax receipts at record levels, your requirement for a financial adviser can last well into your later years. It’s therefore important to ask questions around how long a potential adviser might expect to be working and what kind of succession planning they have in place.

As mentioned earlier, a great relationship with a financial adviser is built on trust, which usually takes time to develop. Most relationships with financial advisers are ongoing in nature rather than a one-off transaction. It’s likely that you will therefore spend a lot of time with them, during which there will be open discussion about personal topics relevant to the advice process. It’s therefore most important that you get on well with them. Their answers to the questions in this post, along with a reliable referral can give you confidence that you have chosen an adviser that’s right for you.

You can search the FCA’s Financial Services Register for firms and individuals, which all authorised advisers will be listed on.

If you would like further information on anything covered in this article, please get in touch via the contact page.

Guide to Inheritance Tax & Estate Planning and how you may be able to mitigate any liability – Part 2

Posted on: August 9th, 2022 by fwAdmin

Guide to Inheritance Tax & Estate Planning and how you may be able to mitigate any liability – Part 2

Estate Planning Options – what can you do?

  1. Lifetime Gift to a Discretionary/Flexible Trust

If you do not need access to an element of your capital, you could gift that capital into a discretionary trust. A trust is a legal arrangement you can create where the gifted asset is held by a trustee or group of trustees, for the ultimate benefit of a named third party (your beneficiary(s)).

With such a trust, you retain ongoing control over the direction of the capital, e.g. who the beneficiaries are when capital is allocated to beneficiaries and how much is distributed. You can also appoint extra trustees who can fulfil your wishes after death.

A gift into a discretionary trust is treated as a chargeable lifetime transfer (CLT). There would be no immediate tax to pay on cumulative chargeable lifetime transfers in the previous seven years up to the £325,000 limit.

There would also potentially be tax payable at subsequent 10-year anniversaries, or when capital is distributed from the trust. The maximum periodic/exit charge would be 6% of the excess over the nil rate band.

Gifts to individuals and to trusts can be effective elements of an estate planning strategy but if you gift capital, you reduce your wealth and potentially the income that you can generate. There are, however, options available that can provide you with an ongoing income if desired and, in certain cases, access to capital whilst also proving effective from an IHT perspective by reducing the value of your estate. These options tend to fall into two categories, trust-based and non-trust based investments.

  1. Trust-Based Investments

Insurance companies offer various products that can provide significant IHT savings for investors. The products are typically ‘investment bonds’ which will be contained within a trust. The trust and legal documentation can be prepared and provided by the insurance companies themselves without cost.

I have provided an overview of the two main types of trust below.

If you invest an element of your capital within a loan trust you can:

This type of arrangement can be highly effective as a form of estate planning as it freezes the capital in your estate for IHT purposes but can also reduce the value of your estate without you having to give up control over the capital or lose the ability to derive an ‘income’ from that capital.

A loan trust arrangement is a long-standing, and highly effective means of gradually reducing the value of your estate over time (as long as the loan repayments are spent!) and ensuring future investment growth falls outside of your estate. It enables you to provide a fund for beneficiaries outside of your estate, retain control over the capital loaned and generate an income from that capital should you wish to do so.

Again, this is a trust-based arrangement using an investment bond. The invested capital is used to provide you with a fixed level of income each year until death. A discounted gift trust essentially splits a capital investment into two elements, namely:

  1. A ‘discount’ element, the value of which falls immediately out of your estate for IHT purposes.
  2. A ‘gift’ element, the value of which falls out of your estate once you have survived seven years from the date the trust is established.

A discounted gift trust can achieve an IHT saving over a much shorter, accelerated period with an element of the investment falling out of your estate immediately (with the rest after seven years). The limitation of a discounted gift trust is that it cannot be unwound.

In comparison, a loan trust represents a more gradual form of longer-term estate planning. The key attraction of the loan trust is that it gives you security and control. Unlike an outright gift or transfer into trusts, you do not lose control over the capital loaned and can unwind the arrangement and have the outstanding balance of the loan repaid.

These two arrangements can also be used together as part of an overall estate planning strategy.

  1. Tax Incentivised Investments

There are types of investments that are advantageous from an estate planning perspective and do not involve the use of trusts. These investments typically focus on the use of Business Relief (BR) to ensure that any capital invested qualifies for 100% relief from IHT after two years.

There are no trusts involved here, so these arrangements can be viewed as simpler and more straightforward. Some types of Business Relief arrangements can also be used to generate an income.

In most cases, the underlying investments used within these arrangements are high risk. Some BR qualifying products will invest in private companies and/or those listed on the AIM market. These are smaller companies, quite often illiquid, that can be highly volatile with returns that fluctuate widely. Whilst these arrangements can be highly effective from an IHT perspective, investors need to be comfortable with the elevated levels of investment risk that typically come with them.

It is important to look at the underlying investments here and not just the tax advantages.

  1. Protection

The estate planning options outlined above all cover things you can do during your lifetime to mitigate an IHT liability on your estate.

An additional approach is to accept that there will be an IHT liability and arrange life assurance so that a lump sum is paid to your beneficiaries to help them pay the tax. This would involve taking out a whole of life policy to pay out a sum assured on death (on the death of the surviving spouse for married couples).

There is a cost for this life assurance, and that premium cost is higher than for a term assurance policy because there is a guaranteed payout under a whole of life policy. How attractive this is, depends on how long you live and how many years you will need to pay the premiums.

A number of unknown factors make it very difficult to predict and target any potential tax liability accurately, but life assurance can still serve a useful role in helping to provide your beneficiaries with capital promptly.

Any such policy should be written under a trust to ensure the benefit does not fall into your estate and to enable the proceeds to be immediately paid to your beneficiaries.

Inheritance Tax can be a complex subject and it is important to seek professional advice along the way from an Inheritance Tax and estate planning specialist. Five Wealth Ltd offer independent financial advice to a wide variety of clients, at various stages throughout their investment and retirement planning journey. If you feel that our expertise would be beneficial to you, please get in touch.

The information featured in this article is for your general information and use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. It is not an offer to purchase or sell any particular asset and it does not contain all of the information which an investor may require in order to make an investment decision. It is based upon our understanding and interpretation of HRMC practice and current legislation Always obtain profession advice before entering into any new financial arrangement.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax or estate planning. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on your individual circumstances. Some IHT planning solutions may put your capital at risk you may get back less than your originally invested.

Guide to Inheritance Tax & Estate Planning and how you may be able to mitigate any liability – Part 1

Posted on: August 2nd, 2022 by fwAdmin

Guide to Inheritance Tax & Estate Planning

(And how you may be able to mitigate any liability – Part 1)

Inheritance Tax (IHT) – what is it?

Inheritance tax is a 40% tax applied to estates worth over £325,000 after a person dies. The £325,000 threshold is potentially higher where the individual has inherited a partner’s exempt amount, or if a home is left to children or grandchildren.

1. What’s included in the estate?

The value of your estate for the purpose of inheritance tax includes:

2. Understanding the nil-rate band

There are several rules and exceptions regarding Inheritance Tax meaning it can get quite complicated, however, understanding the nil-rate band is key.

The nil-rate band is effectively a personal IHT allowance. Everyone receives their own £325,000 nil rate band and will only be liable for Inheritance Tax on the value of their estate that exceeds this value. Any unused percentage of the allowance can be passed on to a surviving spouse and would be claimed on the second death.

If you leave your main property to your children or your grandchildren (including adopted, foster or step-children), you may gain an additional IHT-free allowance of £175,000 which can be offset against the value of the property also referred to as the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB). This additional exemption will also be available where someone who has died sold their home or downsized on or after 8 July 2015.

In summary, a person can pass on up to £500,000 completely free of IHT and the combined allowances for a married couple is £1,000,000.

However, It is important to highlight that some of wealthiest estates may not be able to benefit from the RNRB. Estates worth over £2,000,000 will start to lose the RNRB, as it will be withdrawn at a rate of £1 for every £2 over £2,000,000.

This means that based on the RNRB figure of £175,000 in 2022/23, there will be no RNRB if the estate exceeds £2,350,000 for an individual or £2,700,000 for a married couple.

3. What’s exempt from Inheritance Tax?

impact on your standard of living are normally exempt from IHT. (This exemption is often used to make regular monthly contributions into investments vehicles for children/grandchildren.)

It is good practice to keep a record of gifts you make and which exemptions you are using. This will make the administration of an estate on death much more straightforward.

  1. Outright Gifting

If you make other outright gifts to an individual, these are deemed to be Potentially Exempt Transfers (PETs). If you survive for more than seven years from making the gift, then the transfer is free of IHT and is not included in your estate on death.

On death within seven years of making a PET, the value of the PET is included in the estate calculations and uses the Nil Rate Band before it is applied to the rest of the estate. If the value of the ‘failed’ gifts, when added to any earlier gifts within seven years exceeds the £325,000 tax-free limit, IHT will become payable.

Please be aware an individual receiving the gift is primarily responsible for paying the IHT on a failed PET.

In simple terms, if you make a gift and live for a further seven years, that gift will not form part of your estate. If you do not survive the seven years, the amount of the gift will be brought back into the calculation, potentially resulting in an IHT liability on the amount gifted.

Once a gift has been made, you no longer have access to the capital nor can you derive any income from it. If those rules are breached, the gift runs the risk of falling foul of the ‘Gift with Reservation’ rules and it may remain within your estate for IHT purposes.

  1. Things to consider before gifting

Lifetime gifts are often seen as a simple way to reduce inheritance tax, but as you can see above, it’s a complicated matter that needs serious thought.

As well as ensuring you abide by the rules, you’ll need to consider the affordability of giving gifts, without leaving yourself short in your later years – when you may need to pay for added expenses such as care or enhancements to your home.

You’ll also need to think about when you want your beneficiaries to gain access to the assets you gift them. For instance, you may want to give money to your children or grandchildren but retain control over what age they receive it. This can usually be done by placing the money into a trust.

Inheritance Tax can be a complex subject and it is important to seek professional advice along the way from an Inheritance Tax and estate planning specialist. Five Wealth Ltd offer independent financial advice to a wide variety of clients, at various stages throughout their investment and retirement planning journey. If you feel that our expertise would be beneficial to you, please get in touch.

Please keep an eye on our blog posts/Linkedin to see part 2 of this ‘Guide to Inheritance Tax & Estate Planning, focusing on the different options for those looking to mitigate IHT.

The information featured in this article is for your general information and use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. It is based upon our understanding and interpretation of HRMC practice and current legislation Always obtain professional advice before entering into any new financial arrangement.

 

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax or estate planning. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on your individual circumstances. Some IHT planning solutions may put your capital at risk so you may get back less than you originally invested.

Five with Five – General Housekeeping

Posted on: June 28th, 2022 by fwAdmin

General Housekeeping

We take a holistic approach to financial planning which means making sure every aspect of our clients’ financial requirements are considered and advise on each aspect of this where possible. We are the first to hold our hands up however to say we are not experts in everything and there are times that we need to refer our clients to other professional services firms to help complete the full service they require. At Five Wealth we have an extensive network of professional contacts that we work with and trust to provide our clients with a high quality service in their areas of expertise, including (but not limited to) solicitors, accountants and mortgage brokers.

Below are some of the main areas we look at as part of our clients’ financial planning “housekeeping”.

Wills

Creating a Will is one of the most important steps in ensuring that your assets pass on to those you wish to benefit from your wealth after your death. If you die without a Will in place, the estate is distributed under intestacy rules – more often than not this means that assets are not divided up as you would have wished or there are unintended tax consequences which could easily be avoided with proper planning.

A properly written Will can also help to protect family wealth or business assets through the use of trusts. A conversation with a solicitor that specialises in these areas can be worthwhile and can help ensure your wealth is passed on in the way you want it to be.

Where large estates are involved, a Will can help to distribute assets tax efficiently, making the best use of the available tax allowances such as the Nil Rate Band for Inheritance Tax. This could help maximise the value you are able to pass on to your heirs.

We have strong relationships with a number of Private Client teams and are always happy to put our clients in touch with a suitable solicitor if they wish to create or review their Wills.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you (as the “donor”) to appoint one or more “attorney(s)” to make decisions on your behalf. Many people associate LPAs with taking control over a person’s assets when they are elderly and perhaps no longer able to make their own decisions, for example if they suffer from dementia. LPAs however can provide control and peace of mind over who takes control of your property in the event of an accident or illness that means you are no longer able to make your own decisions at any time in your life. An LPA provides the ability to appoint someone you trust to look after your affairs should you need them to – without this in place, you have to apply to the Court of Protection who can then appoint a “deputy” to act for you. This can however be a long and costly process so it is preferable to put an LPA in place whilst you can.

There are two types of LPA and you can choose to make one type, or both:

In both cases, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used.

It can be difficult to think about what might happen if you have an unexpected accident or illness and many people put off doing anything to prepare for an unexpected event. An LPA can provide peace of mind should you lose the capability to manage your own affairs and we consider it to be an important part of our clients’ financial planning “housekeeping”.

Pension Death Benefit Nomination

Whilst a Will is important to set out how you would like your assets to be distributed on your death, it does not apply to pension funds. A separate Death Benefit Nomination, or Expression of Wishes, needs to be completed for each pension you hold to make sure that the funds can pass on to your chosen beneficiaries.

The nomination provides guidance to the pension provider of who you would want your pension funds to be paid to on your death. This can be anyone you want including family or friends, and can be changed at any time. Many providers now also allow you to give additional details of who you wish to receive the funds if they are unable to pay out to your chosen beneficiaries (for example if they have pre-deceased you). This allows for greater flexibility in passing on your pension death benefits in as tax efficient a way as possible.

We always make sure to cover this within our clients’ pension planning and will review their chosen nomination regularly to ensure it is up to date. It is often the case however that no nomination is set up on their existing or old pension schemes, or on workplace pension schemes. Many providers allow you to update your beneficiaries’ details online – it is worth checking your death benefit nomination regularly to make sure you have one in place and it is in line with your current wishes.

Tax

If you are self-employed or a high earner, chances are you already complete a tax return. There may also be a need to report tax to HMRC if you have rental income or taxable dividends on shares or an investment portfolio. If you are doing your tax return yourself, it is important to be aware of the deadlines for submission to HMRC – 31st October after the tax year end for paper returns, and 31st January if you complete a return online.

Sales from investment products can result in a tax charge meaning you have to complete a tax return where you may not normally do so. This includes sales from shares/investment funds that exceed the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowance (£12,300 for 2022/23), and withdrawals from investment bonds that result in a chargeable gain.

If you are married or in a civil partnership, it may be worthwhile restructuring investments before making a sale to maximise the use of your tax allowances – assets can be passed between spouses or civil partners tax free, which can mean you are able to use both partners CGT allowances or unused income tax allowances.

You should also make sure you are claiming tax relief on your pension contributions if you are a higher or additional rate taxpayer as you could be due a rebate of 20% – 25% of your gross contributions each tax year.

Whilst we have a broad working knowledge of legislation, Five Wealth Ltd are not specialist tax advisers and you should speak to your accountant if you require any specific tax advice. Our professional network includes a number of tax advisers and accountants, and we are always happy to refer clients to one of our contacts if they are looking for advice in these areas.

Mortgages

We often get asked if we advise on mortgages when clients are reaching the end of their current fixed term or looking to buy a new home. Unfortunately the answer to this is no, but we work with a number of mortgage brokers to help our clients find the best mortgage products for them.

It can be helpful to speak to a mortgage broker to find out how much you could borrow or how much your monthly repayments might be. Many brokers have access to lower mortgage rates and products that are not available on the open market, so you could benefit from applying through them.

Reviewing your mortgage regularly could help save you money on your monthly repayments, with some brokers offering an ongoing service to keep you updated on the latest rates and products available.

 

 

The information featured in this article is for your general information and use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. Five Wealth Ltd offer independent financial advice to a wide variety of clients, at various stages throughout their financial planning journey. If you feel that our expertise would be beneficial to you, please get in touch.

 

The information contained within the article is based upon our understanding of HMRC legislation and practice at the current time. Allowances, reliefs and other tax legislation is subject to change and depends on the individual circumstances of the investor. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Will Writing, Tax Advice or Legal services.

Gifts, not just for Christmas…

Posted on: June 15th, 2022 by fwAdmin

Making use of the various gifting allowances and exemptions that are available can be a powerful way of reducing the value of your estate for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes, whilst potentially providing a meaningful benefit to your loved ones as and when they need it.

Generally speaking, IHT may have to be paid after your death on any gifts made in the 7 years preceding your death. A gift can be anything you give that has value, such as money, possessions, and property. It can also be something that has decreased in value. For example, if you sell your house for less than its actual value to your child, the difference could be classed as a gift.

In this blog post, we have provided an overview of five scenarios where gifts can be made free from IHT:

  1. Using your annual exemption – You can gift up to £3,000 each tax year without the gift being added to the value of your estate. This is known as your ‘annual exemption’.

This can be made to one person or split between several people.

If you don’t use your full allowance in one tax year, this can be rolled over to the following tax year (but only for one tax year).

  1. Using the small gifts exemption – You can make gifts of up to £250 per person each tax year without these being added to your estate.

The exemption is not available if a small gift is made to the same person that you have already gifted your £3,000 annual allowance to in the same tax year.

  1. Making gifts out of regular excess income – There is no limit on any gifts made from excess income, which are immediately exempt from IHT, provided that:

A real-world example of this exemption would be a grandparent using excess pension income to pay for a grandchild’s school fees.

  1. Wedding gifts – you can give a tax-free gift to someone who is getting married or starting a civil partnership, up to a value dependent on your relationship with the person getting married. You can gift up to:

For the gift to be effective for IHT purposes, it must be made before the wedding (and the wedding has to happen!).

You can combine a wedding gift allowance with any other allowance, except for the small gift allowance. For example, you can give your child a wedding gift of £5,000 as well as £3,000 using your annual exemption in the same tax year.

  1. Gifts to your spouse or a charity – There is no limit on any gifts made to your spouse or a charity, with these being immediately exempt from IHT.

Any gifts made in excess of the available allowances and exemptions will remain in your estate (and therefore are potentially liable for IHT) for 7 years from the date of the gift.

It is therefore very important that you keep a record of any gifts you make, including details of:

This will make it easier to establish if there is any inheritance tax due on your gifts when you die.

If you would like further information on anything covered in this blog post, please get in touch.

 

The information featured in this article is for your general information and use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. The article is based upon our understanding of HMRC legislation and practice. Tax rates and allowances relate to 2022/2023 tax year and are correct at the time of publication. Allowances, reliefs and other tax legislation is subject to change and depends on the individual circumstances of the investor. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Inheritance Tax Advice.

 

Sources of information

Posted on: May 10th, 2022 by fwAdmin

Sources of Information

At Five Wealth, we have a host of sophisticated investment analysis tools at our fingertips as well as direct access to fund managers, economists and professional advisers. But how does the average person stay up to date with what’s happening in markets? In this blog, I ask a handful of my colleagues the sources they would recommend to clients looking to stay in the loop.

Rick Gosling, Associate Director – Podcasts:

Part of an adviser’s job description means being out on the road visiting clients, even if video meetings are now a more accepted tool in the post-lockdown world. Any medium which allows me to absorb information whilst driving is therefore particularly useful. The number of podcasts available has skyrocketed over the past decade and there are several quality offerings available depending on your personal preferences.

My favourite is the Money Talks podcast from The Economist, which is a 45-minute-long show in an interview format released once a week. The topics are global in scope which can sometimes give a bit of perspective to investors who are used to seeing UK centric headlines every day. Recent topics covered include the global effect of economic sanctions on Russia, the success of private equity investments in recent times (& whether they can continue outperforming public markets) and the effect of high inflation expectations.

Other podcasts that are recommended include:

Steve Jordan, Director – Business News:

A lot of my clients are business owners and professionals advising businesses. What this means is that is very important and useful for me to be aware of what’s going on in the Northwest and further afield in the business world. To do this I subscribe to The Business Desk, Business Insider and other news sites and receive the regular bulletins covering company news, deals, new hires etc. It means that when I’m talking to clients and contacts I am as informed as I can be about the wider market and what’s impacting them in their world – aside from their investments.

Phillip Dewhurst, Director – Newspapers:

Whilst I do have various apps on my mobile phone that allow me to follow markets closely, I also enjoy the traditional sources. Reading the Sunday papers means that I have a good feel for what’s en vogue and I often receive client queries off the back of particularly eye-catching headlines.

I’ll usually make sure I read the Financial Times – Weekend edition and the Sunday Times, both of which have excellent money sections. Quite frequently there is an article written by Simon Edelsten, manager of the Artemis Global Select Fund, who is a fund manager I respect very highly. Even at challenging moments for investors, which we have seen plenty of in recent years, he always provides a useful reminder of investment fundamentals which tend to be the basis of a sound investment strategy.

It’s important to maintain a critical eye when reading the papers and be wary of sensationalist headlines. It’s also important to remember that many of the UK papers have a focus on the UK market and the FTSE 100. Whilst that is understandable, all of our clients will have a diverse geographical spread within their investment portfolios and so I’d encourage them to ensure they are looking at the bigger picture, whilst also bearing in mind that not everyone is suited to taking the same level of risk within their investment strategy.

Liz Schulz, Associate Director – Social Media:

As well as the more formal offerings that my colleagues have covered above, I also like to use social media as a quick way to keep on top of industry topics and discussions as well as local business news. Whilst naturally any social media has to be taken with a pinch of salt, there is useful content given out daily from both companies and peers. A few accounts worth a follow are:

And whilst not necessarily industry specific, for a more light-hearted read the regular updates appearing from our charity of the year Support Dogs (Support Dogs: Overview | LinkedIn) are always very welcome.