Structuring your affairs to protect your assets can be confusing and stressful.
At Tiger Law, we understand the struggle and are here to help you achieve a uniform approach through complex matters such as taxation, estate management, investments, wills and testamentary complications. We understand the variety of family scenarios our clients might find themselves in and will always be sensitive to topics that our clients might find difficult to articulate.
Estate planning – making your will and looking after your loved ones
Here are a few situations that might cause you and your family a great deal of anxiety, all of which we can help to mitigate:
* Money can often bring out the worst in people, leading to family members arguing over who has or who should have inherited your assets upon your passing, then wrestling with the HMRC after finding out about the deduction of inheritance tax from their share;
* You’ve worked hard for years to generate value in your business and personal wealth and you want to ensure that your family gains maximum benefit rather than the tax man;
* You might have a collection of jewellery, art, cars or even guns and need to think about how to deal with this at the point of writing your will – we know you will want your family to avoid arguments;
* If you have properties abroad, you may need a lawyer’s help to plan for this in the UK.
We understand that dealing with future financial affairs can be daunting, Tiger Law is here to help. We understand that you may need the expertise of a lawyer when it comes to managing complicated and multi-jurisdictional affairs when it comes to your assets. Our team members are equipped with top-notch skills and have acquired a comprehensive knowledge of law dealing with taxation, inheritance, investments and trusts. Tiger Law is also happy to work closely with our clients’ accountants. Fret not, we have a few options available to you to manage your situations.
In life, long term care and end of life decisions
In order for us to assist you, a legal document called ‘Lasting Powers of Attorney’ (‘LPA’) is drafted to allow you, (‘the Donor’), to confer authority to someone you trust or to our associate (‘the Attorney’) to make decisions on your behalf. Currently, there are two types of LPAs available to you:
1. A Property and Financial LPA: allows your Attorney to manage your property and finances. This includes managing your bank and savings accounts, paying your bills, buying or selling your house, managing investments & dealing with your tax affairs. Additionally, this document can be used when you are capable of doing things on your own and is also valid for future use in the event you lack capacity.
2. A Health and Welfare LPA: allows your Attorney to make decisions about your health and welfare. This includes deciding where you should live, your day to day activity and if you wish, extending decision making to giving or refusing consent to life sustaining treatment. This document is only valid when you are no longer in capacity to make decisions for yourself.
Keep in mind that we will have these documents registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they come into force.
If you are interested in any of these services, our legal advisors can assist you with this. We offer fixed charges for the preparation and/or registration of an LPA. Please contact us if you wish to discuss LPAs.
What happens if you have an Enduring Powers of Attorney (‘EPA’) document?
An EPA relates to only your property and finances. These documents can no longer be drafted as they were replaced by LPAs from 1st October 2007, onwards. However, if you have an existing EPA, it is still considered a valid document. It will need to be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian if you lose your mental capacity.
In this case, our legal advisors could assist you with the registration of you EPA. If you wish to appoint an attorney in relation to your health and welfare, you will need to proceed with a separate LPA for that.
What if you or someone you care about does not have an LPA or an EPA and they have lost their mental capacity?
In the event of this occurrence, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed. Please note that such applications to appoint you as a Deputy is lengthy and can be costly, this is why we advise on preparing in good time and putting together a plan that helps everyone avoid court wherever possible.
Our legal advisors will work with you to ensure that the right application is made to the Court. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on being appointed as a Deputy and/or other Court of Protection related applications.
If you are unwell, you would usually discuss decisions about treatment with your doctor. Should an unfortunate situation arise in the future where you are unable to communicate your wishes for treatment (for example if you were in an accident and you were unconscious or you have dementia or Alzheimer’s) you can make your wishes known now in a document called an advance directive.
An advance directive (often referred to as a ‘living will’) allows you to make decisions now about whether you wish to specifically refuse medical treatment in the future. You can only make such decisions in advance if you have lost mental capacity. Any treatment that you have specifically refused in advance cannot be given lawfully against your will. An advance directive is very useful because it tells your family, carers and health professionals your wishes about your choices for treatment and how you would like to be cared for.
Such a document has to be carefully prepared. Our legal advisors could provide appropriate advice to ensure that your wishes are made clear. If you are thinking about preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare (or you already have such a document in place) and an advance directive, our legal advisors could provide all the information that you need and advise you on the best options for you.
A Trust is a private legal arrangement that allows a third party to manage money or assets for the benefit of someone else. The Settlor is the person who establishes and puts the assets into trust. The Trustees are the persons responsible for controlling the Trust. The beneficiaries are the persons who benefit from the Trust. The Trustees must always act in the best interest of the beneficiaries.
There are a number of different types of Trusts. Our legal advisors could advise on the best form of Trust for you. You may need a Trust for some of the following reasons:-
1. If you wish to protect your family’s wealth and are thinking of passing it on, but you want to ensure that it is used for the benefit of the persons that you choose;
2. If this is your second marriage and you want to protect your spouse and provide for your children;
3. If you have a business trading as a partnership with other persons, a Trust could be used to avoid potential problems;
4. If you are concerned about inheritance tax, a Trust could be used to save inheritance tax to ensure that your estate is as tax efficient as possible;
5. If you are thinking about buying a house with your partner, children or parents, a Trust will be needed.
6. Protecting family assets before a marriage? This can be particularly important for people who have established a business prior to meeting their future spouse, or possibly a member of a family business, so it will protect it from future divorce.
We work closely with accountants and tax advisors to provide an appropriate solution tailored to your needs. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
International Equity Planning
If you are lucky enough to have assets or property overseas, or even be based abroad, hopefully a stone’s throw from a sandy beach, you will need to consider how those assets will be treated for taxation, changing family circumstances or when you pass.
If you are selling property abroad you may be liable to Capital Gains tax, as well as any tax that may be payable in the country where any gain was made, however, you may be able to claim relief if you are taxed twice.
If you own property abroad and are a UK domicile, when you pass away, the estate will be subject to Inheritance Tax (‘IHT’) on the foreign property. There may also be IHT owed in the country the property is situated, however, as with Capital Gains tax, there may be a claim for relief from any tax paid abroad.
A problem may arise however, not just on the taxation of any capital gains or inheritance on foreign property, but also from ‘forced heirship’. Forced heirship is where the law of the country in which the property is situated, dictates who inherits the estate. For example, in France, your children will inherit, and it may be that your spouse will inherit a small amount of the estate. If this is the case, what is left to children will be subject to IHT.
Forced heirship can be avoided however by opting for the succession law of their country. In the example above, this means a spouse may inherit the majority of the estate and benefit from the exemption of IHT for spouses.
If you do not carefully consider how your assets will pass to your loved ones, a number of problems could arise with forced heirship. Our legal advisors will be able to direct you on the most effective ways to avoid or mitigate the pitfalls surrounding taxation of your international assets and property.