In Focus: Tax  

Advisers 'implore' clients to talk estate planning

Advisers 'implore' clients to talk estate planning
 Photo by Ron Lach via Pexels

Britons must get to grips with difficult conversations around estate planning and inheritances to make better-informed decisions, an adviser has said.

John Westwood, managing director of Blacktower Financial Management, said too many people are put off discussing important end-of-life financial planning with their families because of the "emotional" aspect.

But he warned such an approach meant that families were simply storing up problems for themselves for later, instead of doing their research and getting professional advice before it is too late. 

He said: "It is becoming worryingly apparent that many are brushing these terms off as either complications exclusively for the wealthy or simply burying their heads in the sand when it comes to difficult conversations.

"To mitigate any challenges around hefty tax obligations for their family’s futures, people must set their own emotions to one side when it comes to the discomfort of discussing their own mortality."

He said having the conversations with children and other beneficiaries sooner rather than later, and putting a long-term plan in place, would ensure that loved ones are not only looked after in years to come, but aware of any taxation they may unknowingly be eligible to incur. 

"It goes without saying that professional advice should always be sought, but we must implore the public to start talking to their families openly about these matters and research any possible impacts to long term finances", Westwood commented.

His comments came in response to a survey published earlier this week (April 20) by Time Investment. The research was done by Consumer Intelligence among 1,019 individuals, and found 52 per cent of those aged 55 and above did not know what their inheritance tax liability would be.

Lulled perhaps into a false sense of security, thinking IHT only affects the very wealthy, 31 per cent of respondents admitted they had never even checked the rules on IHT and worked out whether it applied to them.

Westwood added: "The latest research illustrating that the majority of Brits over the age of 55 do not understand inheritance tax bills their loved ones may be responsible for is very concerning."

simoney.kyriakou@ft.com