One perhaps unsurprising side-effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has been an upsurge of interest in wills and estate planning. However, the lockdown is constraining options.  Press reports have suggested that the increased interest in will writing has been particularly high among those in the older age brackets who are more vulnerable if they become infected. …

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The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the values of many investments fall. But lower values can have a useful upside.  ‘It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’ So it is with the drop in the value of shares and investment funds that has occurred since the start of 2020. It’s worth remembering, however, that…

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Review your IHT planning in case the Autumn Budget brings in the anticipated changes

One of the few surprises in March’s Budget was that the Chancellor never mentioned inheritance tax (IHT) or expected simplification measures. Before 11 March there had been much speculation that the Budget would introduce a range of changes to IHT. This was more than just the usual press kite-flying, as the Office of Tax Simplification…

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One of the more controversial pension tax rules – the annual allowance taper – was slightly reformed in the Budget.  The annual allowance effectively sets your tax-efficient limit for the total amount of pension contributions that you and your employer can make in a tax year. If the limit is exceeded, then you essentially receive…

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2. The Bank of England base rate is at an all-time low: now could be the time to review your long term financial planning, investments and retirement income.

The Bank of England’s two unscheduled base rate changes in March took interest rates to a new all-time low. The Bank of England’s 0.5% cut in its base rate to 0.25% on Budget Day (11 March) was far from being a complete surprise. The previous week had seen its US counterpart, the Federal Reserve, make…

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Coronavirus has greatly impacted the stock markets, with the UK FTSE 100 and US Dow Jones Index suffering the worst performance since 1987.

The first quarter of 2020 was a traumatic one for investors. 2020 started off well enough. Until the middle of February, most global share markets were flatlining as the year got under way. Then the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak suddenly expanded from a localised epidemic in Wuhan into a global issue. The reaction of most major…

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The intestacy rules for England and Wales have been amended.  The intestacy rules automatically apply to the distribution of estates where there is no will. There are three different sets of rules in the UK: one for England and Wales, a similar set for Northern Ireland and a much more different set for Scotland.  The…

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What do you remember about the decade that began in 2010?  A decade is a long time and a lot happens, but important details can be lost in the big headline moments. The one that has just ended makes the point. The 2010s started with Gordon Brown as prime minister and, four elections and two referendums…

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The National Living Wage (NLW) rises by over 6% in April. The 6.2% increase to £8.72 an hour equates to £15,870 a year based on a 35-hour week. The substantial rise is not down to inflation – which ended 2019 at only 1.3% – but due to a policy of George Osborne’s. When he made the surprise…

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