Looking after your children

Looking after loved ones

As parents, the thought of leaving behind our loved ones doesn’t bear thinking about. So in many cases, our unwillingness to face the prospect, no matter how unlikely we believe it to be, means that making plans for caring for our children after we’ve gone is all too often ignored. Combine that with busy lives and it’s no wonder that, according to Will Aid, 57% of parents have not made a Will and a further 31% have a Will but have not named guardians for their children1.

Practical considerations

Writing a will – setting down your wishes about your children, your assets and any beneficiaries is crucial. If you die intestate, your wishes may not be respected and probate can drag on. Jimi Hendrix’s estate took 30 years to settle because he left no will regarding the distribution of his assets2.

Guardianship  - formalising who will take care of your children in the event of your death should be top of your agenda.

What should I consider?

It can be difficult to choose between one family member and another, but ask yourself whether their parenting views are similar to your own and whether they are financially secure enough to take on the responsibility. As part of your Will, you may wish to provide financial security for the care of your children, either through a lump sum bequest to guardians or through a Trust. As a professional trustee for more than 100 years, our experts can offer you impartial advice on how to create a Trust that meets your family’s needs.

Financial – having your financial affairs in order could make your children’s lives significantly easier

  1. Life insurance – ensure you have life insurance and that it provides the cover you need. In the event of your death, for example, would the life insurance mean that your children/spouse could remain in the family home and enjoy the same standard of living they have now?
  2. Employee benefits – many employers provide death in service benefits. Understand what these are and provide your employer with details of named beneficiaries.
  3. Pensions – detailing the beneficiaries of your pension pot and understanding the amounts involved can also help longer-term planning.

Assets – for most people, property forms their biggest asset. In the summer budget 2015, the Chancellor set out plans to introduce a new family home inheritance tax-free allowance.  When added to existing IHT-free allowances, this has the potential for parents and grandparents to pass on their family home worth up to £1m to children or grandchildren, without paying inheritance tax.  The scheme  has complex restrictions and conditions and will be phased in between 2017 and 20203.

Under English law, children can inherit assets once they attain 18 years; in Scotland, this is 16 years. If you fail to make a will that sets out financial responsibility through a trust for these assets, an automatic trust will be created, which will cease upon the child attaining the required age.

In particular circumstances, you may wish to delay the age of inheritance or create specific conditions around when your children inherit your assets, for example, releasing funds for University, to launch a business or changing conditions on marriage. In addition, you may wish to appoint your own trustees to look after the inheritance, perhaps separate from and independent of the guardians.

Whether a managed trust, an investment vehicle or a package of options, our Trust Management teams can create a solution that will help meet the requirements of your estate and the level of control you wish to have.

Digital assets – substantial balances in a PayPal account or in Bitcoins will class as digital assets.

Key information – creating a repository of information about bank accounts, utility providers, medical history and so on, can help with sorting out your affairs and provide useful information for your child’s future.

Checklist

Planning care for your children after your death is never going to be a particularly pleasant or enjoyable task but it needn’t be a particularly arduous one and a checklist could help you prepare. 

  •  Write a Will and include details of your wishes regarding the care of your children.
  •  Update your Will if there’s a change in circumstances, for example, in the event of a divorce or re-marriage.
  •  Keep a file of important information accessible and include details of all accounts in this.
  •  Review your life insurance and death in service benefits and adjust if necessary.
  •  Confirm beneficiaries for death in service and pension benefits.
  •  Create a special place to record memories and/or write a letter to be opened in the event of your death.

Talk to your Private Banking and Advice Manager to help put plans in place to ensure your children are well looked after. Lloyds Bank Private Banking can also provide access to a Will writing service.

Further practical information on the issues parents should consider can be found on the National Children’s Bureau website Plan If…

Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in future.

 

The tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future.

Important information

Any views expressed by Lloyds Bank Private Banking are our current in house views as at 28th October 2016 and should not be relied upon as fact and could be proved wrong. Views expressed are not intended to provide legal, tax or financial advice.

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