Writing your will and planning your estate

Making a last will and testament is something that most people choose to put off for a variety of reasons (some two thirds of UK adults it is estimated). Often it’s a subject we’d prefer not to think about or we’re not entirely sure what is involved.

However, writing a will shouldn’t be difficult. It can be done quickly, often very cost effectively and offers significant benefits. At Reeves Independent, our new wills service will we take the hassle out of estate planning to make it easy for you to plan ahead.

What we do

We will guide you through the process to ensure that your wishes are carried out, your assets are distributed correctly and that the interests of your loved ones are protected.

We take the time to understand you, your situation and circumstances to provide the best possible advice on:

Our fees start from £100 for a will with other services priced accordingly.

  • Wills £100
  • Family Trust £200
  • Interest in Possession Trust (IIP) £200
  • Deed of Severance £100 per person per property
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney – Finance £400
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney – Welfare £400
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney – Registration £50
  • General Powers of Attorney £50
  • Office of Public Guardians LPG £130*
  • Storage – Reeves £30*

(All costs exclude VAT apart from * where not applicable)

To arrange an appointment with one of our team, please give us a call on: 0871 271 1280 or visit www.reevesifa.com.

 

 

Using Lasting Powers of Attorney

You can take care to ensure that your assets go to the right people after your death by making a will. However, if you care enough about what happens to your assets after you die, then you should care even more about keeping them and yourself safe whilst you are alive. To do this, you can set up Lasting Powers of Attorney.

What is a Power of Attorney?

It’s a legal document that allows an individual (donor) to appoint a person(s) (attorney(s)) of their choice to look after their affairs should they, at a later stage, no longer wish to make these decisions or lack the capacity to do it.

Powers of Attorney

There are three different types of document:

• Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for property and financial affairs

• Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare

• General Power of Attorney (GPA)

These replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney in 2007.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

The LPA for property and financial affairs allows your attorneys to make decisions about paying your bills, dealing with banks and investments and even collecting benefits and selling property. The LPA for health and welfare allows the attorneys to make decisions around care issues, where the donor lives and even life saving treatment.

As the name suggests, both of these powers continue to be valid even after the donor loses capacity. When the LPA is registered, it can only be used if the donor has lost mental capacity.

The LPA must be signed by an independent person confirming that the donor understands what the LPA is. It must also be registered with the Public Guardian’s Office before it’s legal.

General Powers of Attorney

A GPA allows attorneys to make decisions and act in any matters relating to the donor’s property and affairs with the exception of their will or any gifts. It is effective immediately and remains in force until it is either revoked or the donor becomes mentally incapable and it’s automatically revoked.

Who can make an LPA?

Anyone over the age of 18 can make an LPA as long as they have mental capacity at the time.

Why do I need an LPA?

The main reason is in case you suffer an accident that incapacitates you or you become mentally incapacitated through old age or some other reason. The benefits of this are:

• You can plan in advance who you want to make key decisions for you

• The decisions you want them to make

• How you want your attorney(s) to make those decisions

What happens if I don’t have an LPA?

With an LPA in place, your attorneys will be able to look after your affairs. However, without one, the only way your financial affairs can be managed is by an application (by a relative or someone close to you) to the Court of Protection for Deputyship. This can be time consuming and costly and a judge will make the final decision so may not even appoint the person who you would want.

Around 55,000 people are registered with the Court of Protection as being mentally incapable to act on their own. Their affairs are under the jurisdiction of the court. This means that without an LPA, those seeking to care for you, have the added stress of having to deal with officials every time a decision needs to be made.

Who can act as an attorney?

You should appoint someone you trust – such as a relative or a professional. Anyone who is over the age of 18 and has mental capacity can sign.

How would you like your attorneys to act?

You will also need to consider how you would like your attorneys to act and you have three options:

Together: this means that attorneys make all decisions together. If one attorney disagrees, that decision can’t be made on your behalf. You might choose this option if you want to ensure all your attorneys are in agreement about every decision.

Together and independently: means your attorneys can make all decisions together or independently. You might choose this option if one of your attorneys is closely involved in your financial affairs and you trust them to make decisions on their own.

Together for some decisions and independently for others: this means they can make some decisions independently but must be in agreement for others. This might be an option if you want attorneys to make day-to-day decisions such as paying nursing home fees but be in agreement about significant decisions, like selling your home.

Registering your LPAs

Once you have made the decision to make an LPA, you must register it with the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) to make it valid. It costs £130* to register an LPA with the OPG.
*It’s possible for some people to qualify for an exemption or remission from these registration fees. You can qualify for a 50% reduction if you earn less than £12,000 per year. You may qualify for an exemption if you are in receipt of a range of means tested benefits such as income support; employment and support allowance; job seeker’s allowance; pension guarantee credit or element of state pension credit; housing benefit; council tax benefit

Avoid problems by writing a will

Have you written a will? It’s estimated over 60% of people haven’t, preferring to put it off. It’s a natural thing to do as talking about the subject can be difficult, but planning ahead could save a lot of money and difficulty in the long run. As part of our new wills and estate planning service, we look at the benefits of forward planning.

The major benefit of effective estate planning is that you get control of where your assets go and who gets what – ensuring your wishes are carried out, potential problems are avoided and your assets are protected from extra inheritance tax and other costs (for example care home fees, bankruptcy and generational IHT).

If you die without a valid will this is known as ‘intestacy’. Without a valid will, your assets are divided to a set a predetermined rules – irrespective of any intentions you may have. This is something that happens frequently and in complicated cases (numerous high profile cases hit the news) disputes can still be going on decades later.

Writing a will gets more important as we get older – although worryingly recent statistics show that nearly half of people between the ages of 55 and 64 have never made a will.

However, while this is true, in reality anyone over the age of 18 should consider writing one – particularly if you have dependents such as children or other relatives to look after. Many people assume that wills don’t matter if you have children and plan to leave all your assets to your spouse. However, your husband or wife would only receive the first £250,000 of an estate, with the remainder divided based on current law.

When children are involved, it’s not just the assets that are a consideration, there is also the issue of appointing guardians. This should really encourage anyone with children to make a will because if you die before the age of 18, it may be up to the courts to decide who looks after them.

The overall message should therefore be to make a will and review it when your circumstances change. For example, you should look to update your will post any relationship break-up to prevent your estate going to the wrong person.

Planning your estate like this will give you control over your assets. It gives you time to think through whom you want your beneficiaries to be – individual or charity – and structure how you make the arrangements for them to benefit. You can also plan who you want to execute your will too.

To find out more about our wills and estate planning service, give us a call on 0871 271 1280 and arrange an appointment with one of our advisers.

Is it time to consider your tax saving options?

It’s less than one month to go until the end of the current tax year on April 5th. If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to make the most of your savings (very important in an era of low interest rates) by considering your options when it comes to keeping the amount of tax you pay to a minimum.

For those still to do this, two of the best tax efficient savings options remain ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) and pensions. The ISA limit for the current tax year is £11,280 – which is an increase from 2011 when the maximum you could invest was £10, 680. It will rise again, slightly, from April 6 2013 to £11,520.

Up to half of this money (£5,640) can be invested in cash, so if you haven’t already done so it’s an easy and sensible move to make by April 5. The other half can be invested in a stocks and shares ISA – which includes most authorised unit or investment trusts, open ended investment companies (OEICs) as well as any share quoted on the stock exchange.

You could also consider a ‘Junior ISA’ which was introduced by the Government in 2011 to encourage children and other people to save on their behalf. Unlike other ISAs, the maximum that can be invested here is £3,600.

Any growth in the value of your savings or investments with an ISA will be free of capital gains tax and there is no liability to tax on any income taken from the fund.

Increasing your pension contributions is another action to consider. Increasing your contributions could help you to maximise the money paid into your pension by your employer. If you’re not asking your employer to do this – and make the maximum contribution to your pension – you’re essentially leaving free money on the table.

If you would like any advice on your ISA or pension contributions or any other investments, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 0191 281 9862 or email info@reeves.com and we promise to respond to your enquiry.

You can also follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/reevesifa or Linkedin on http://uk.linkedin.com/in/nigelreeves

Taking control of your retirement with a personal retirement plan

Do you want to take control of your retirement and make the most of your time and investments? An obvious question, perhaps, but without a personal retirement plan how will you achieve this?

At a time when pension legislation, pension schemes and markets are changing fast, not taking control and understanding your options by thinking clearly about your retirement and having a plan that works towards this can be a costly decision.

Planning for your retirement is as important as planning for the success of your business or your career. A planned and forward thinking retirement plan is a must for anyone with expectations of a successful retirement. It helps you to maximise your assets and may help you retire earlier.

THE BENEFITS OF A RETIREMENT PLAN

The benefits of creating a bespoke retirement plan are clearly demonstrated by Judy, a highly successful businesswoman now aged 60.

Judy was first referred to Reeves Independent by an existing client of ours 10 years ago with few plans and little funding for her retirement – in spite of having worked in a highly paid job for many years.

Ten years down the line, she is looking forward to imminent retirement thanks to a tailored retirement plan that has focussed on when she wants to retire and how much money she will need to fund her lifestyle.

The retirement plan, which is tailored to Judy’s unique needs and requirements, is based around a mix of pensions, ISAs and cash. Having regularly reviewed her position and plan with our team over the last decade, she is now set to retire this summer with more than adequate funds within various tax wrappers.

HOW THE BESPOKE RETIREMENT PLAN WORKS

As Judy’s story illustrates, we have a strong (20 years plus) track record in providing bespoke retirement plans. Our service helps you to plan ahead and make the most of your assets by having a detailed understanding of when you want to retire; the type of lifestyle you wish to lead and how much you will need for this.

The plan gives a clear breakdown on:

- Your options before retirement, at retirement and during retirement. How much you can expect and when?

- Your opportunities – how to make the most of all of your assets (including different types of pensions and a range of investments)

- And, crucially, the best solutions for your circumstances

WHAT TO DO NEXT?

To start planning for your own retirement and receive a bespoke retirement plan tailored to your own circumstances contact Reeves Independent today.

Call Nigel or one of our advisors for a preliminary chat on 0871 271 1280; email info@reevesifa.com or visit www.reevesifa.com for further information.

 

7 reasons to have a Independent Financial Advisor!

This weekend I read a number of articles on Why should someone have an IFA? Therefore I have written a quick Blog on the 7 most important reasons in my opinion to answer this question. Here are my thoughts below; 

No 1: To protect your family

There are a lot of people trying to sell you insurance of one type or another but an adviser can tell you which one is actually worth buying. Here at Reeves Independent we will assess your position & guide you through the best options to protect yourself & your family – regardless of whether you are single, married, have children or they have long left home. Whatever your needs, our adviser can help ensure personal tragedy does not turn into financial crisis.

No 2: To help you plan for retirement

Once you have sorted out your short-term saving needs, you can then start thinking about the long-term – and most people these days realise they cannot rely on the
State for more than the absolute basics. However, planning for retirement is a complex business and there are many different options available. Pensions have come a long way in terms of flexibility and transparency in recent years and now offer a wide range
of investment options. Our financial adviser will not only help sift through the many rules and product options but also help construct a portfolio to maximise your long term prospects.

No 3: To help meet your investment goals

As you progress through life, you begin to build your assets and your income begins to increase. You then start considering how you can enhance your position rather than simply consolidate it. This could mean anything from looking to retire early through to paying school fees for private schools or investing in overseas property. However
your dreams evolve, our financial adviser can help assess what is realistically possible – and put the best plan in place to help you achieve it.

 

No 4: To find the right combination of assets

Investment is as much about protecting the potential downsides as it is about targeting maximum growth. High returns are often associated with high risk – and not everyone is happy if their investment falls by a third or more overnight. Our financial adviser will make a detailed assessment of your attitude to risk before making any recommendations. They will also ensure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket by helping you diversify not only across asset classes but also across accounts, individual funds and product providers.

No 5: To obtain an objective assessment

Every new product or investment opportunity is accompanied by hype, proclaiming it is the best ever – but that does not mean it is right for you. Investors the world over have been and will continue to be caught out by market bubbles or high charges because they don’t take a step back. Our financial adviser knows how products and assets work in different markets and can outline the downsides for you as well as the benefits. Between you, you can then make a more informed decision about what hype you can believe – and what products you really need to avoid.

No 6: To keep you on track

Even when you have every product you need taken care of and your investments are set up and running to plan, someone needs to keep an eye on them in case changes
in markets or abnormal events push them off course. You can ask our financial adviser to do this monitoring work for you. They can assess the performance of individual
investments against their peers, ensure that your asset allocation does not get distorted as markets move and also help you consolidate gains as the dates of your
ultimate goals approach.

No 7: For peace of mind

Money is a complicated subject and there are many things you need to think about to both protect it and make the most of it. Markets are volatile and the media is prone to exaggeration of both the risks and the rewards. Employing a good financial adviser can take the emphasis away from you and move it into the hands of an expert. Whether you need general, practical advice or a specialist with dedicated expertise, the money you invest in taking advice could be paid back many times over in the long term.

For a FREE no obligation chat about your current situation or your requirements then call 0191 281 9862 or e-mail info@reevesifa.com NOW!

 

Reeves Independent’s Portfolios Fund of the Week – Investec Global Bond!

It has been another terrible week for the markets, with very few of our funds showing any gains at all. However this weeks Fund of the Week is the Investec Global Bond from Reeves Independent’s Government Bond Portfolio, which incredibly had a weekly return of 1.13%!

Investment objectives

The Fund aims to achieve long term total return primarily through investment around the globe in highly rated corporate bonds, government and sovereign bonds and public bonds (such as bonds issued by local state and municipal authorities) which are listed or traded on Recognised Exchanges and in derivatives the underlying assets of which are highly rated corporate bonds, government and sovereign bonds and public bonds (such as bonds issued by local state and municipal authorities).

For more information on this Fund click on the following link http://www.trustnet.com/Factsheets/Factsheet.aspx?fundCode=GGF01&univ=U

If you would like to speak to someone about the Reeves Independent Portfolio Management Service please contact us NOW for a FREE initial chat on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail your enquiry to info@reevesifa.com

Focus on India!

 

Last month we Blogged about a number of funds that are held within our Add Ons Portfolio in areas such as Forestry & Timber, Latin America & Infrastructure. Today we are going to Blog about another area in which our clients can invest in & one that has been getting a lot of positive coverage - India!

At present clients have the option to invest in the First State Indian Subcontinent Fund. This fund primarily invests in the healthcare (26%), basic materials (18%) & technology (15%) industries.

In terms of performance it has had a negative return in the last month of 0.02%, however year to date it is up 14.13%. A longer term analysis shows it did actually lose 6.07% in the last year, but over a 3 year period it has returned a positive 83.43%.

So why are the experts saying invest in India?

  • India’s economic growth is expected to remain robust in 2012 and 2013, according to the United Nations’ annual economic report, ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012′
  • While presenting the Union Budget for 2012-13, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Union Finance Minister, has announced that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to grow by 6.9 per cent in 2011-12. Further, India’s GDP growth in 2012-13 is expected to be 7.6 per cent +/- 0.25 per cent
  • A number of industries are due to grow significantly, particularly the healthcare, aerospace, defence & automotive industries. For example it is expected that by 2020, the vehicle production in the country would treble from the levels in 2009, with the auto component sector likely to reach US$ 110 billion from US$ 30 billion during the period.
  • Furthermore India attracts huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflows. On March 23, 2012, India’s foreign exchange reserves totalled US$ 295.2 billion, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s Weekly Statistical Supplement. 
  • India’s biggest asset is its young population. Around a quarter of the world’s under-25s live there and as more young people move to the cities, and their aspirations grow, lifestyles are changing.
  • There is a large & growing middle class of several hundred million citizens with rising income. More people are using credit cards, buying mobile phones, eating out and spending on healthcare, travel and luxuries. Furthermore, many people in the rural areas of India are purchasing mobile telephones & other household goods and appliances for the first time.
  • Undoubtedly India’s infrastructure needs upgrading and expanding. However, the government has started tackling this, earmarking $1.7 trillion for infrastructure development over the next ten years.

As you can see there are a many positives for investing in India, however it must be stressed there are also threats. There are a number Internal and external security threats to India, poor infrastructure (as mentioned above) &  further to this corruption scandals have led to political instability.

Therefore to reinforce what we have said in previous Blogs, this is only really an investment for clients who are prepared to take a more speculative approach & are prepared to accept volatility to get potentially higher returns. We would not expect clients to put huge lumps of investments primarily in this area.

Additionally at present the First State Indian Subcontinent Fund has gone in to what is know as soft-closure, which means it increases the charges to invest, hence making it an more unattractive investment. Therefore Reeves Independent are currently researching different ways to invest in this sector!

Further details about how to invest in India & the Reeves Independent Wealth management service are available by calling 0191 281 9862 or e-mail info@reevesifa.com NOW for a FREE initial chat!

Seeking an Effective Headhunter?

In the second part of our guest Blog series from Guy Newton of the Corpex Group he looks at the Ten key questions you should ask when seeking an effective headhunter!  

The Corpex Group is a specialist Human Resources consultancy, which works as your business partner to provide added corporate value, by supporting the people who really make a difference to your business – your Executives. Through the Corpex Group you will find solutions to your Executive requirements, including the effective recruitment, coaching and development of your key decision-makers.

 Guy Newton, Managing Director of The Corpex Group has provided a useful guide ‘An ABC Guide to Hiring an Interim Executive.  To help your business read Guy’s advice below:

v       What evidence can you provide to satisfy me that you have operated effectively within the target sector?

v       What remuneration package do you suggest we need, to attract suitably qualified candidates?

v       Who, specifically, will carry out the desk research, initial candidate contact and face to face interviewing?

v       Can you provide the contact details of three satisfied Clients for whom you have conducted Executive Search assignments?

v       How do you measure your success?

v       How many organisations in the target sector are “off limits” for you, and who are they?

v       At what stage will you reveal the identity of the Client and to whom?

v       What, if any, guarantees do you offer?

v       What candidate checking takes place before short listing?

v       Can you provide the contact details of three candidates you identified, interviewed and short listed in a previous Executive Search exercise?

For further information have a look at the Corpex Group website http://thecorpexgroup.com/CORPEX_1024.htm or e-mail guy.newton@thecorpexgroup.com 

The ABC Guide to Hiring an Interim Executive!

Reeves Independent has a wealth of highly motivated and successful business associates.  This month we would like to introduce you to Guy Newton of the Corpex Group who is going to a 2 part series of guest Blogs.

The Corpex Group is a specialist Human Resources consultancy, which works as your business partner to provide added corporate value, by supporting the people who really make a difference to your business – your Executives. Through the Corpex Group you will find solutions to your Executive requirements, including the effective recruitment, coaching and development of your key decision-makers.

 Guy Newton, Managing Director of The Corpex Group has provided a useful guide ‘An ABC Guide to Hiring an Interim Executive.  To help your business read Guy’s advice below:

THE ABC GUIDE TO HIRING AN INTERIM EXECUTIVE

What is temporary, flexible and cost effective, yet delivers strategic business improvements that are permanent?  The answer is an Interim Executive or Manager and an increasing number of business organisations are hiring an extra pair of senior management hands that can:

  • Manage business critical change projects
  • Identify and secure cost savings
  • Facilitate and conclude strategic reviews / plans
  • Turnaround underperforming business units

The Corpex Group has a portfolio of c.1000 Interim Executives, so we have immediate access to high achievers with impressive experience of your industry.

Consider some of the advantages for your business …………….

Availability

  • Can start immediately and will disengage as soon as the project is successfully completed
  • Can operate on a full or part-time basis and will only stay as long as they are adding measurable value
  • Expects to work long hour days to get your job done

Business Focused

  • Focused only on delivering results and improvements for your business
  • Shuns corporate politics and shares wisdom / experience with your staff
  • No hidden agenda or seeking a permanent post, just rolls up their sleeves and delivers results for you

Cost Effective

  • You only pay for the actual number of days worked
  • About half the daily cost of a senior consultant
  • Does not go on your Payroll so no on costs such as NI etc

Your Interim Executive may only be temporary, but the business improvements delivered will be permanent!  So, how do you hire one?  Well, that’s as simple as ABC

Ask The Corpex Group

  • Telephone me to discuss the business challenge, improvements required and the ideal candidate to do the job
  • You will be reviewing 4 or 5 candidate CVs within 24 – 36 hours

Book Interviews

  • Meet and interview 2 or 3 Interim Executive candidates
  • Select your preferred Interim Executive

Confirmation

  • We will sort all the paperwork and confirm contractual terms
  • Together we will agree and confirm expectations
  • Confirm start date, usually within a couple of days of interview

So, if your business is not moving forward quickly enough, consider accelerating the pace of improvement by hiring an Interim Executive.  It costs nothing to meet 2 or 3 talented individuals – the process is as simple as ABC.

For further information have a look at the Corpex Group website http://thecorpexgroup.com/CORPEX_1024.htm or e-mail guy.newton@thecorpexgroup.com