How much wealth do we actually have?
John and Catherine's story:
“We wanted to ensure the family benefited from our estate – not the tax man!”
John and Catherine were becoming increasingly concerned about the implications of inheritance tax on their estate but didn’t feel they could afford to do anything about it. It soon became clear, that the couple were actually quite wealthy – although because their financial situation had become so complex due to the number of accounts and investments they had, they didn’t actually feel that way. In truth, they didn’t really have a clear picture of how much wealth they had. All they knew, was that they wanted to pass on as much of it as possible to their two grown-up daughters and their grandchildren.
To help them, we began by taking stock of everything they had – fourteen different bank accounts amounting to around £270,000, thirteen different investments totalling £880,000, most which went back years, as well as a house worth £600,000. As things stood, if anything happened to them, their family would have been hit with an inheritance tax bill of about half a million pounds.
How we helped…
As in many situations like this, our first step was to go through John and Catherine’s box of papers and statements to find out exactly what money was where – and how it was performing. We could see straight away that it made sense to reduce the number of bank accounts to keep everything simple and we also rescheduled some of their investments in a more appropriate way. But probably the biggest change we suggested, was to gift some of the money accumulated to their daughters. By doing all of this, we were able to make an immediate saving of over £100,000 on their likely inheritance tax bill – reducing this right down to £130,000 after two years. Now that’s much more palatable than half a million!
John and Catherine were delighted that not only had we given their finances a much needed spring clean, but through cash flow modelling, we were able to show them they really could afford to give some of their wealth to their family right now. For them that was wonderful news. It meant they could see their daughters and grandchildren really benefit from the money – while having complete confidence that it wouldn’t have a negative impact on their own future.