Personal Law

Maybe James Bond is too busy on Her Majesty’s Secret Service to have time to die.  That might work for Commander Bond, but for the rest of us mere mortals, it is a ‘when’ not ‘if’ situation. And indeed, it goes beyond “no Mr Bond, I expect you to die.”

Make/update a will: that avoids family and others perhaps saying “shurely shome mhisthake” after a loved one passes away. And unlike the iconic theme tune, “we [do not] have all the time in the world” to do it.  We suggest that unlike Sam Smith’s Bond theme, you put the writing on paper rather than on the wall.   

Oh… and if hanging around lasers and shark invested lairs, do get a power of attorney in place.

You only live twice? Well, this is something Bond got right (kind of).  If you want to make a will better following a death, there is the great opportunity to enter into a deed of variation. Each individual beneficiary in an estate can vary their entitlement without needing other parties to consent (for your eyes only, as such). It also includes the chance to pass an unlimited value into trust and be able to continue to benefit from the trust… access to assets and outwith your estate for inheritance tax. All time high!

Transferable nil rate band? Mr Bond raises some interesting points here (on the rules about getting a larger tax free amount to pass on death).  Remember the late Tracy Bond? Not sure what her will said, but it might have passed everything to her husband. But we also need to add to the mix that Bond had been married before… but it was only a decoy – was it really a valid marriage/what happened in the divorce? Fun times filling in the inheritance tax forms on death to unravel this story.  And, of course, there is probably a decent chance of a cohabitant on death claim being at least considered. Length of relationship might be the stumbling block.

Death benefits (that sounds a bit like a Bond title). Perhaps Bond is high risk and has trouble getting cover, but he should really have any life policy written in trust.  As ever, make sure pension death benefits are properly nominated (the Casino Royale theme tune covered this… You Know My Name) otherwise the scheme administrator will not have the licence to… create a tax efficient pension pot for loved ones (whether loved by spies or otherwise). Finally, death in service (need not be secret) through employment can be valuable and often a trust is the right place to house those proceeds. Wouldn’t want the spectre of these valuable benefits going to the wrong place.

Diamonds are forever, but estate planning rules change… and with that in mind, we have a seminar coming up inspired by the Office of Tax Simplification inheritance tax report… details and sign-up here.

This blog was written by Eccles, Alan Eccles… the man with the golden pun.

Alan Eccles

Partner at Brodies LLP
Alan is a Partner specialising in private client (succession, incapacity and asset protection) matters as well as the charities, third and impact sectors.
Alan Eccles