Bishop & Sewell

Is it too soon to start thinking of Spring? We think not.

If you’re one of the 14.2 million Baby Boomers in the UK considering when to retire, as well as financial planning for the future, reviewing your estate planning and checking your will is up to date would be really prudent steps to take before the sun lounger beckons, writes Nicholas Barlow, Partner and Head of our Private Client team.

Retirement is often on the forefront of people’s minds as they are looking at their finances and an exciting aspiration for many of us. In particular though, as someone gets five to eight years from retirement, the margin for error on planning mistakes becomes less and less and the questions to ask get more and more critical.

It’s not necessary to be manic about neutralising the potential risks in retirement. If you do, the result is often over-saving. Saving too little is risky, but should you overdo do it in pursuit of a seven-figure nest egg?

Enjoy life now while saving and preparing for retirement

Understand, too, that that it’s a multi-step process. First, know your time horizon. An early start is ideal to have more leeway. Determine your spending needs next and not under-estimate retirement expenses. Make sure your expectations are realistic.

As the Office of National Statistics quotes, “In terms of working patterns, age 65 years as the start of older age is out of date. There is no longer an official retirement age, State Pension age is rising, and increasing numbers of people work past the age of 65 years.

“People are also living longer, healthier lives. In 2018, a man aged 65 could expect to live for another 18.6 years, while a woman could expect to live for 21 more years. So, on average, at age 65 years, women still have a quarter of their lives left to live and men just over one fifth.”

Inheritance tax affects thousands of families across the UK, but it’s a subject that can feel difficult to discuss. After an extremely challenging 2020, leaving a legacy has never been nearer the front of so many people’s minds.

Enquiries for wills have increased by 76 per cent since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, according to financial advisory organisation deVere Group, ”Trillions of pounds of assets are set to pass down the generations over the next decade. However, with the amount that can be passed on free from IHT (the nil-rate band) frozen at £325,000, more people than ever face a potentially significant bill.”

Knowing your current liability against IHT and future investment growth and income is an important first step to arranging your estate efficiently.

It’s also important to ensure that you have set aside sufficient funds for you or your partner to be comfortable in the type of care you may need in later life.

Estate planning solutions such as gifting and settling assets into a discretionary trust are familiar to many of our clients, and some are concerned in case the beneficiary may not do the right thing with a bequest. However, did you know that Business Property Relief assets offer an alternative to giving away assets, letting you plan their legacy without losing access to your money?

A BPR qualifying investment might not be the right solution for all. The value of a BPR-qualifying investment, and any income from it, can fall as well as rise. As a result, investors may not get back the full amount they invest. The shares of unquoted or AIM-listed companies could fall or rise in value more than shares listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. They may also be harder to sell. Tax relief for packaged investments depends on portfolio companies maintaining their qualifying status; tax treatment depends on individual circumstances; and tax rules could change in the future.

However if you’re one of those who have not considered how up to date your will is for 5 – 10 years, why not blow off the dust and review your affairs?

After all, March is just around the corner.

Our Private Client lawyers have the knowledge and experience to guide you through these challenging times and have been ranked in the Legal 500 for their expertise.

If you are in need of advice or assistance on any of the issues mentioned in this article please contact Nicholas Barlow or another member of our expert Private Client Team on 020 7631 4141 or email

The above is correct as at 22 February 2021. The information above may be subject to change as this is a constantly evolving situation.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 22nd Feb 2021

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