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Speaker – Robin Allan – Protecting your Assets

Robin Allen has for many years been providing advice on how to protect your assets in retirement.   Although he is not a solicitor he can provide advice on when Wills, Trust Funds, Powers of Attorney, etc. may be appropriate.   He provided many amusing illustrations of the difficulties that can be encountered from his copious notes.

Contrary to popular belief preparing for the future involves more than just making a Will.   The right advice now could help protect what you have worked hard for thereby guaranteeing an inheritance for your loved ones.

For example  -     

- a Will offers no protection against hostile creditors

- Your spouse, or partner, can re write their Will on your demise leaving your estate to person/s who may not be related to your family?

- A Will does not provide a vehicle for ongoing payment to children/grandchildren to fund, for example University fees or to provide a deposit for a home.

- A Will does not protect special needs children from their State Benefit, or Local Authority support, being reduced or even stopped altogether should they receive an inheritance.

- A Will offers no protection from Creditors/Bankruptcy or expensive Probate and does not protect the family bloodline.

It’s a certainty that you won’t be around forever. You have probably made plans for your demise by writing a Will – a sensible and responsible thing to do. But when the time comes and your estate passes to those you choose, what if there is little or nothing left?

The Dilnot Commission reported in 2011 that more than 45,000 homes are sold each year to fund care home fees, with one in 10 people (or one in five couples) having to meet the costs of care home fees of at least £100,000. Loved ones could be left with as little as £23,250 in their estate – full state funding begins when the value of an estate is reduced to this level. Recent Government legislation was introduced to cap Care Home Fees at £72,000 but this only covers nursing costs, it does not cover accommodation and catering costs which are likely to be in the region of £15,000 per annum.    Assets, including family homes, can be protected from third parties by creating a Trust Fund.

Accident or illness can strike at any time and impairment of the mind should be associated not just with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. A stroke, car accident or other unexpected event, or just old age can leave any one of us unable to make decisions for ourselves. Expensive court processes may be required to gain control of your affairs.  Should a family member lose their mental capacity, their bank account may be frozen (even if it is a joint account) which means that their affairs cannot be dealt with by a member of the family. A Lasting Power of Attorney enables you, the donor, to appoint people you trust to look after your affairs. There are two areas that you will need to consider:

Property and Financial Affairs -

Where you appoint people you trust to look after all your finances (bank accounts, investments, property etc)

Health and Welfare -

Where you appoint people your trust to look after your welfare requirements (choice of care home, daily care, medical treatment etc)

You can have a Lasting Power of Attorney to deal with just one of the above areas or both. Both are highly recommended.

If LPA’s are not in place the Court of Protection will take control of their property, financial assets and health & welfare, at a cost of approximately £1,000 per annum.

If it is a Health and Welfare matter, a quarterly report needs to be made to the CoP detailing every penny which has been spent. Often the CoP appoints a local solicitor at a cost to the client in the region of £150 per hour. Investing in Lasting Powers of Attorney NOW can make life considerably easier for the person who has become incapacitated AND for the loved ones who have responsibility of taking care of him/her.

Funeral costs are rising far in excess of the annual rate of inflation. It is an unfortunate fact that for many families budgeting for a funeral by traditional methods may no longer be sufficient to cover the cost. According to the Sun Life cost of Dying Report in 2013 average funeral costs have risen from £1,230 in 1997 to £4,000 today, an increase of 225%.  Conservative estimates suggest that by 2024 a funeral will cost on average between £7,000 and £8,000. A pre paid Funeral Plan guarantees that no matter how long you live and however expensive a funeral will be on your demise there will always be sufficient funds to cover the Funeral Directors fees and services.

The Chairman has circulated an e-mail address for those requiring further information.

The telephone number for Robin Allan, this morning's Speaker, is 01845-537927

email : robin@etps.me.uk