February 9, 2017

Very often, Financial Planning will not only assist with planning your own financial security during your lifetime, but also safely passing your wealth to your intended beneficiaries when you die. It is therefore a crucial piece of the Financial Planning jigsaw to ensure you have a current valid will in place so that your wishes are carried out, and your intended beneficiaries are not disappointed.

What happens if I don’t have a will?

It is often assumed that for a married couple, upon first death the survivor will inherit all of their deceased partner’s assets, however this may not necessarily be the case.

The situation can become more complex for indivi...

February 9, 2017

When planning for retirement, it is important to understand your entitlement to the State Pension, and determine how much you are likely to receive and when.

It is now possible to obtain your State Pension Forecast online using HMRC's new Personal Tax Account. If you have not already registered for this service, we strongly advise you to do so. Please refer to my article at the link below which explains how to register, including a detailed guide.

Register for Online Personal Tax Account

The Personal Tax Account will also detail your National Insurance history, confirming your qualifying years and highlighting any gaps.

The following guide explains how to...

February 9, 2017

HMRC is encouraging customers to register for a Personal Tax Account if they have not done so already.

The idea of the Personal Tax Account to allow individuals to view their personal tax details in one secure location online, and will also enable you to obtain your State Pension Forecast and check your National Insurance contribution history.

In order to register you will need:

  1. Your National Insurance Number

  2. A recent payslip, P60 or passport

  3. A mobile phone to receive a security access code

There are three simple steps to register:

  1. Go to www.gov.uk/selfassessment to register

  2. Use the activation code which will be posted to you, to g...

February 9, 2017

Whilst the majority of final salary pension schemes are, sadly, now closed to new members, and many are also closed to future accrual by existing members, there are a great many individuals who hold some form of benefits within a Final Salary pension (also known as a Defined Benefit pension).

With gilt yields at historic low levels, transfer values from Final Salary pensions have increased dramatically, because of the way the trustees are required to calculate the transfer value.

As a result, many such individuals with deferred Final Salary benefits are now questioning whether they should transfer their pension to a Personal Pension or other similar arra...

February 8, 2017

In the Summer Budget of 2015, a number of changes were announced to the tax treatment of buy to let properties. In this article, I will focus on the change to the way in which mortgage interest can be offset against rental income for the purposes of calculating the income tax due on the rent.

At present, it is possible to entirely offset the interest portion of any mortgage that is in respect of a buy to let property, to reduce the taxable profit.

Example

David owns a property which generates £10,000 pa in rental income. He currently pays £6,000 per year on an interest only mortgage that he used to buy the property. Therefore ignoring other allowable expe...

February 2, 2017

It’s not the most exciting of subjects, or the most straightforward. However for many people, the State Pension forms an important element of their income in retirement.

With the many changes to the State Pension over the years, the rules have become incredibly complicated. Former Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, has just launched a new guide to the State Pension, to help individuals overcome the complexity. This guide can be found below.

Download State Pension Guide

If you are yet to reach State Pension age and haven’t recently obtained a State Pension forecast, it would be worthwhile doing so, to determine what you are likely to receive; particularly give...

February 1, 2017

Asset values and in particular property prices have risen sharply in recent decades. As a result more and more people are caught by Inheritance Tax, also known as IHT. It is often said that IHT is a "voluntary tax" as it can be easy to avoid. With a potential tax rate of 40% on death, there is plenty of motivation to take action to save IHT.

Many complicated schemes exist to help people reduce their IHT liability, however it is important to consider taking advantage of the generous reliefs and exemptions first; for many people this will be enough to solve the problem. In this article I shall take a look at a few simple strategies that can be put in plac...

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