Government Announces Significant Overhaul Probate Fees

Government announces significant overhaul of probate fees from 1 May 2017

Last February, the Government began a consultation into probate fees and how much families should be charged for extracting the Grant of Probate.

Their proposals outlined a move away from the current application fee of £215 for an individual and £155 for professional, to a new tiered fee system based on the value of the estate in question:

  • Estates valued at less than £50.000 – No probate fee
  • Estates valued at £50,000-£300,000 – £300 probate fee
  • Estates valued at £300,000-£500,000 – £1,000 probate fee
  • Estates valued at £500,000-£1m – £4,000 probate fee
  • Estates valued at £1m-£1.6m – £8,000 probate fee
  • Estates valued at £1.6m-£2m – £12,000 probate fee
  • Estates valued at more than £2m £20,000 probate fee

We introduce clients to King’s Court where the clients show interest.
You can read about working with King’s Court (KC) here

Kings Court Trust was one of 853 firms or individuals to formally respond to the consultation.

They voiced strong opposition to the plans, citing the fact that the proposed fees would potentially cause significant financial difficulties for families already having to deal with the loss of a loved one.  Despite overwhelming opposition, the Government has approved the changes to the fee structure and these will come into action from 1 May 2017.

What does this mean for clients that use King’s Court
through Jan Oliff Financial Planning?

Our clients will have the fee changes clearly explained to them.
KC is committed to supporting any families who need advice and support on what the fee structure change will mean for them and are currently investigating a number of options that will allow us to help families manage the additional cost of the Grant of Probate as a result of the new structure.

How will this impact on Kings Court Trust’s fixed fee service?

KC’s comprehensive estate administration service will still be offered with a guaranteed fixed price.

They have removed the cost of the Grant of Probate as a fixed charge and will not be reintroducing this until there is a clear understanding of the new processes that the Probate Registry will be putting in place.

Instead, KC will explain clearly how the new fee structure will impact on the estate in question so that clients have as much information as possible.

Scammers Beware

Can we count on your support?

This is from the PFS – Professional Finance Society – my professional body.
The proliferation of investment and pension scams have been a growing concern over the last few years, but since the introduction of pension freedoms unregulated activity has multiplied leaving consumers vulnerable to ever more sophisticated scams.

During 2015/16 more than 3,000 people reported being caught up in scams with an average loss of £32,000. As most scam losses go unreported the actual numbers will be much higher. It is clearly time to take further action and as a profession we have a vested interest in contributing to the wider effort of helping protect consumers.

The 15 minute commitment

I announced at our London Financial Planning Symposium in November that we had joined forces with the FCA in an effort to help protect growing numbers of consumers. Members have been asked to help raise awareness of scams amongst their clients and professional networks. But for personal finance professionals, scams and unregulated investment schemes with overblown promises are easier and quicker to spot than unsuspecting members of the public. We therefore need to mobilise as a united profession to help the authorities by sniffing out and reporting suspicious investments and potential scams.

The small commitment we are asking Personal Finance Society members to make is to spend just 15 minutes per month to help identify and report potential scams. As a profession we have the opportunity to make a huge impact in smoking out and helping close down investment scams before they do too much damage.

Visit the PFS website where there are ideas on how to spend 15 minutes. The website contains information and case study videos along with an overview of the tactics used by scammers. There is also a link to the FCA’s ScamSmart microsite where you can find the latest warning list and details of how you can report a potential scam.

Contact me about this if you wish

It’s not just inexperienced investors who are falling victim to scams; savvy investors are falling victim too and are the target for more sophisticated scams. Affluent retirees aged over 60 are now most likely to be victims.

Just a quarter of people seek the advice of a professional adviser prior to committing to an investment and one in eight people spend little or no time researching investment products before handing over the money. It’s time our profession played its part in demonstrating the value of professional advice and helping protect consumers from the unscrupulous.

Watch Out – There’s a [new] Scam About

IMPORTANT
I had a call today asking about ‘my’ life policies – who are you? – I asked.
‘We are the Life Team. We review policies for the life companies – did is you buy yours from a bank? Whatever po’licies you did buy must be unsuitable for you now so it must be reviewed’

Read moreWatch Out – There’s a [new] Scam About

New Year’s Resolution – 2017 and beyond

2017withchristmasball02Not so much a New Year Resolution as an affirmation of our business principles. Principles that, unlike the usual resolutions, will last an entire year and beyond.

1        A commitment to good client outcomes. Ensuring that clients benefit first, the firms interest taking second place

2        Clients have an opportunity to make a difference as well as make money.

3        Our fees are good value. Clients get what they pay for and their expectations are exceeded

4        We support women.

5        We stand up to the bullies.

A commitment to good client outcomes, unlike some other organisations who still work to targets meaning that the selfish adviser is rewarded, even when they can damage the firm’s reputation and disregard the best outcome for clients.

We match the clients principles and values, by taking time to understand them. Profit comes from sustainable business models. 

All fees are agreed in advance.

We believe that, in a male dominated sector, women bring a different perspective.

We are brave enough to challenge the received wisdom. 

Whilst being a small firm, we achieve better outcomes by tailoring our advice to the client’s needs and wants.

Simple!

Jan

Why Would I Choose Someone with Passion?

As Christmas approaches, like so many other business people, I am starting to focus on

Read moreWhy Would I Choose Someone with Passion?

Four reasons to divest from fossil fuels

What do you think your future self will make of your current investment in fossil fuels?

oil-drum An article from Alliance Trusts atinvestments.co.uk/en/common-content/insights/news/2016/november/4-reasons-to-divest-from-fossil-fuels 
argues the case for divesting your holdings in the sector and checking that your pensions are also sensibly invested.

As a long term Financial Adviser for those wanting sustainable investment decisions I find this interesting and reflects one of the many concerns you may have about investment decisions.

I am able access their funds and well as many others.

For anyone as yet unsure, why not have an initial meeting with me to ask questions to help you to form your own views on this?

 

 

The PFS Annual Conference

In any profession is important to share with other professionals, exchange ideas and learn

Read moreThe PFS Annual Conference

Have we been Trumped on climate?

UKSIFlogoYesterday we learned that the new President of the United States is to be Donald Trump – the candidate who called global warming ‘fictional’ and threatened to ‘cancel’ the Paris Agreement so many of us have worked hard to achieve. But is all lost for our transition to a low carbon global economy? We don’t think so.

The unprecedented international co-operation on climate change has seen a booming low carbon economy.  Key points: renewables have overtaken coal, electric vehicles are the auto growth segment and ‘clean’ jobs are being created faster than any other. This is all happening globally and in the US.

Conservative strongholds and Trump states, such as Texas and North Carolina, are developing clean energy industries attracting new investment and jobs. They are unlikely to wave all that goodbye.  In 2015, the clean energy industry brought $6.96 billion to North Carolina, boasting more than 26,000 full time jobs, 3,150 of which were created in 2015 alone. In Texas, more than 100,000 people are now working in the renewables sector. Of Trump’s voting public, 70% consider it a ‘high priority’ to cut greenhouse gas emissions with 40% of Republicans worried about climate change.

We don’t know yet how Mr Trump will act on climate policy, but we think the progress achieved to date is irreversible.

 

Contact Charlene Cranny at UKSIF for more information and resources around climate action.

Good Money Week Campaign

goodmonetwseekpiggybank2014Good Money Week is the campaign to raise awareness of sustainable, responsible and ethical finance to help people make good money choices.

Good Money Week aims to ensure that everyone knows they have sustainable and ethical options when it comes to their financial decisions.

Good Money Week takes place this year from 30th October- 5th November.

During this annual event we make it a focus for the financial editors of national papers to publish real life stories about people who make the choice to invest in Socially Responsible Investments, (SRIs). The important thing is that they are not odd or extreme in their principles but normal people who take the time to consider the potential outcomes of investing.

If you can invest and get the same, or better, return on your investment and be certain that the investment meets your ethical values, then surely that’s a win-win.

There are of course the cynics who question those good intentions.  In the same way that a driver of an electric vehicle is challenged over the source of the electricity they charge the vehicle with.  Most of us ensure it’s from either wind or solar but it does not stop the cynics.  Somehow doing thoughtful things, like using alternative energy or composting garden waste and not burning it is still considered odd!

Someone please explain it to me?

You might want also to explain why some prefer to drive a mile rather than walk.  Walking restores your energy levels and keeps you fit, driving causes pollution, outside the school, in green spaces and around your homes!  It’s a responsible life-style choice.

So therefore, if investing in thoughtful and responsible ways provides good returns and respects your values, what stops you?

Is it a lack of understanding, a question of not knowing where to find responsible investments or preferring to leave money with your bank so they can do irresponsible things with it?

To find out more about Good Money Week – goodmoneyweek.com

Or talk to me?

Increase in Will Disputes Attributed to Rising Property Prices

It has been reported that the increase in the number of children involved in inheritance disputes has been fuelled by rising property prices.

As the value of property has soared during the last decade, the estates of ‘ordinary’ families have become more likely to prompt inheritance disputes as families go to war over the division of assets. The High Court saw 116 cases of children challenging their parents’ estates in 2015, compared with 104 in 2014 – an 11% rise.

One reason for this surge is due to the rise in more complicated family structures which has led to more relatives, such as stepchildren, expecting to benefit from the estate.

There has also been an increase in cases where children challenge charity donations. This may be due to increased life expectancy which means it is becoming more common for parents to die when their children are middle-aged and assumed to be comfortable financially. If their children are perceived not to need as much financial help, parents may be more likely to make alternative arrangements for the distribution of their assets – to friends or charities, for example.

The children of the deceased can make a claim under the Inheritance Act if they feel reasonable provisions have not been made for them. There is also an option for those who were treated as the deceased’s child to claim against the estate, even if no formal or legal arrangement exists – such as when children have been adopted or fostered.

Tom Curran, Chief Executive at Kings Court Trust said: “Unfortunately, we do see family disputes over inheritance and it highlights how important it is to ensure your Will explicitly states how you want your estate to be distributed.

By ensuring that your Will is clearly and professionally written, your estate can be dealt with as smoothly as possible and reduces the likelihood of loved ones being unintentionally excluded when it comes to their inheritance. It is important that people understand the benefits of planning ahead, regardless of our age or health.”

Your Estate