Royal London have said that just one in four people have organised their financial affairs before their deaths. They also found that most families rely on cash from the sale of a property, savings and pension funds to deal the cost of a death of a loved one.
Last year new rules on inheritance tax were introduced as rising house prices reached a record-high meaning people's finances on deaths are becoming more and more complex.
The process of will writing is currently being reviewed too with the government proposing radical reforms such as being able to express your final wishes via text message.
What can I do to help my loved ones?
If you die without a will, your estate will be distributed according to rules under the Administration of Estates Act. Compared to dying without a will in place, writing a will allows you to clearly state what should happen to your estate after you die this also lets you lift a potentially huge administrative burden from your loved ones. This is called ‘intestacy’.
Inheritance Tax Rules 40% of fees are applied to anything above the £325,000 fresh hold on inheritance tax. This is known as inheritance tax allowance or ‘nil-rate band’. There are a couple of reasons for this. Your spouse or civil partner can inherit your entire estate free of tax, and any unused inheritance tax allowance, which totals £650,000 but there are rules that could see married couples and civil partners pass on as much as £850,000 before any tax is due.
Each person can pass on an additional £100,000 this year if your estate includes your main home, and it is being passed onto direct descendants, such as children or grandchildren.
sharing with your heirs this information will help them work out whether or not they will have an inheritance tax bill to pay when you die.
Probate is often necessary for all but the most simple estates. Any funds in your accounts will be frozen until the executor of your estate has been issued a grant of probate. Some banks however, will release funds without probate on small estates.
Your pension is one asset that doesn’t fall into your estate for inheritance tax purposes.
Anything that maybe left over in a defined contribution pension, can be passed onto anyone you nominate and can be inherited as pension income, or as a lump sum. Although paying tax depends on the age at which you die. If you die before the age of 75, your heirs pay income tax at their personal rate. That is why it is important that you complete an ‘expression of wish’ form with your pension company to nominate the person to receive any remaining pension savings you have when you die.
Pre-Paid Funeral Plan
One of the most important things to get in place before you pass is your funeral plan. Having a funeral plan can prevent a number of issues arising not least saving your loved ones financial burden. It also prevents loved ones falling out over what you would want for your funeral. Funeral plans do save your family from money, time and stress.