With a Discretionary Trust, the settlor makes a gift into trust, and the trustees hold the trust fund for a wide class of potential beneficiaries. This is known as ‘settled’ or ‘relevant’ property. For lump sum investments, the initial gift is a chargeable lifetime transfer for Inheritance Tax purposes.
Default beneficiaries set up in the settlor’s lifetime
Flexible Trusts are similar to a fully Discretionary Trust, except that alongside a wide class of potential beneficiaries, there must be at least one named default beneficiary. Flexible Trusts with default beneficiaries set up in the settlor’s lifetime from 22 March 2006 onwards are treated in exactly the same way as Discretionary Trusts for Inheritance Tax purposes.
These trusts are often used for family protection policies with critical illness or terminal illness benefits in addition to life cover. Split Trusts can be Bare Trusts, Discretionary Trusts or Flexible Trusts with default beneficiaries. When using this type of trust, the settlor/life assured carves out the right to receive any critical illness or terminal illness benefit from the outset, so there aren’t any ‘gift with reservation’ issues.
Allowing someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables individuals to take control of decisions that affect them, even in the event that they can’t make those decisions for themselves. Without an LPA, loved ones could be forced to endure a costly and lengthy process to obtain authority to act for an individual who has lost mental capacity.
A key solution for significantly reducing a potential future Inheritance Tax bill
If you have business owner status, or have shares of a business, this will be reflected in the value of your estate. Business Property Relief is a valuable Inheritance Tax relief for business owners, whether making a lifetime transfer or on death. Business relief is either 50% or 100% on an estate’s business assets. The exact relief amount will depend on the nature of the assets.
Factors likely to have a lasting and positive impact on wealth
Whether you have earned your wealth, inherited it or made shrewd investments, you will want to ensure that as little of it as possible ends up in the hands of HM Revenue & Customs. With careful planning and professional financial advice, it is possible to take preventative action to either reduce or mitigate a person’s beneficiaries’ Inheritance Tax bill – or avoid it altogether. These are some of the main areas to consider.
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