Inheritance Tax  

How should advisers tackle end of life planning with clients?

This article is part of
Guide to end of life planning

Clients who are struggling to acknowledge their own immortality may find that an easier way to deal with these issues is to think about who from their family is set to benefit from the passing on of assets when they die.

“Nobody puts inheritance tax planning strategies in place for their own benefit, it’s always for the benefit of somebody else. 

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“Trying to engage with the wider family, building a relationship with the beneficiaries, those who are eventually going to inherit, and thinking about it as intergenerational planning,” she emphasises.

Ms Dovland points out this may mean inviting family members to a client meeting about end of life discussions.

“It does help open up that conversation around what is the situation, what has been done and how can we help make it a family decision, rather than an individual decision,” she explains. 

“So, engaging with more than one generation of a family, I think, is absolutely crucial for advisers to try and open up those conversations.”

Joe Roxborough, chartered financial planner for Ascot Lloyd, suggests a similar approach when considering how financial advisers tackle the subject of end of life planning.

He asserts: “Although we all know that death is inevitable, truly internalising this fact and putting a plan into action is beyond most of us, even with the best of intentions.

“The first step advisers should take is to shift the focus away from the client, and onto those to whom they would like to bequest. This gives the client a focus for their plans, i.e. the needs of their loved ones.”

He continues: “As with all financial planning, the objectives of the client are paramount. This can be difficult, as it is necessary to plan to provide for the client both in life and after they are gone, which is tricky as we never know exactly when that may be.”

Mr Roxborough proposes a longer term financial plan of regular gifting alongside spending and inheritance tax (IHT) reduction, where possible, is usually the best way for most investors to proceed.

“Most people’s investment pots did not develop overnight; nor should they be decumulated in such a fashion.  

“A gifting and IHT mitigation plan can be made over the forthcoming decade, for instance, with a term assurance plan to broadly match the period involved to pay any tax bill should the worst happen,” he says.

Scott Gallacher, chartered financial planner at Rowley Turton, suggests the particular issues an adviser will need to help their client sort out are wills, lasting powers of attorney and trust arrangements, “along with simplifying clients’ affairs to make matters easier for the executors in due course”.

Femi Folorunso, a consultant at Mattioli Woods, explains: “It is always essential clients make provision through a will to record their wishes of how their assets should be passed on.