Making a Will
Making a Will is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your affairs are in order and to ensure that your loved ones would be protected should anything happen to you. If you have young children, this should include appointing guardians who would be responsible for bringing up your children and looking after their welfare. What could be more important than that?
Power of Attorney
Another essential thing to consider is preparing a Power of Attorney which would appoint someone to manage your affairs for you if you weren't able to do that yourself. Putting a Power of Attorney in place at an early stage saves a lot of hassle and expense for your family in the long run.
This is also a good time to think about your pension provision. Do you have a pension plan in place? Are you contributing enough to this? If the answer to either of these questions is "no" or "I'm not sure", now is the time to look at this.
Tax and financial planning
As we get closer to the end of the tax year, it is worth reviewing your finances generally. Have you made full use of ISA allowances for the year?
What about capital gains tax allowances? If you plan to transfer or dispose of assets which might trigger a capital gains tax charge, it is well worth carefully considering the timings to see if this is best done before the end of the tax year.
In terms of financial planning generally, have you reviewed this recently? Do you have a savings plan in place? What about life cover again to protect your loved ones should anything happen to you?
Finally, what about looking at inheritance tax planning this year? The nil rate band has been frozen at £325,000 for a few years now so more and more people are finding that their estate would be exposed to a 40% tax charge on their death. It is well worth starting to think about this at an early stage.
A simple checklist for the New Year would therefore look like:
- Sort out your Will
- Prepare a Power of Attorney
- Review your pension
- Review your financial affairs and ensure all available tax allowances are maximised before the end of the tax year
- Review your inheritance tax position
We can help with all of these things at Morton Fraser. It is human nature to put off looking at a lot of these things but we aim to make the process a straightforward one, allowing you to tick off quite a few of the "to dos" early on in the new year.