Estate planning should be carefully tailored to meet the individual objectives of an estate planner. It is important that his or her needs and particular circumstances are individually determined and subsequently taken into account.
Estate planning requires a sound knowledge of the tax and legal environment within which one is operating as well as the attributes of the various tools available to the estate planner. This is a constantly changing environment which requires keeping up to date on a number of fronts and an awareness of their implications for an individual’s specific circumstances.
Estate planning considerations would include:
- Having an up-to-date and well-drafted Will which is tailored to the individual’s circumstances and wishes.
- Choosing an efficient executor to a Will is equally important to ensure the optimum experience for beneficiaries.
- An understanding of how offshore investments and foreign assets would be handled in one’s estate is important and needs careful consideration during one’s lifetime.
- Consideration should be given to the appropriateness of any estate structuring during one’s lifetime by making use of instruments such as trusts, life policies, retirement investment vehicles, etc. These mechanisms are often able to reduce estate duty or other taxes (capital gains, transfer duty) otherwise payable on death.
- Making provision for appropriate liquidity in an estate.
- Consider the role of trusts, both during your lifetime as well as testamentary trusts set up under a will.
- Having an awareness of foreign taxes on assets which are classed as UK or US situs assets even when these so-called situs assets are owned by non-residents.