As individuals reach their golden years, planning and making sure their affairs are in order is more important than ever. Family circumstances and relationships can change. Age and illness can make it difficult to manage affairs and cope with complex decisions. As you advance through life we set out six key things you should consider and who you can turn to for help.

1. Wills and succession planning

Do you have a will? Is it up to date? Is your will drafted in a tax efficient manner? Have you considered leaving any legacies of specific items to family or friends? Have you considered leaving any charitable legacies?

Would you like to pass assets or wealth to your children or grandchildren but have concerns about how your intended recipient will use the asset or wealth? If you wish to retain an element of control, you could consider setting up a trust and should seek advice from your solicitor about the options available to you.

2. Powers of attorney and a helping hand

Do you have a power of attorney? Are your named attorneys still the people you would entrust with managing your affairs and making decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself? Do you have someone around you to take care of your affairs for you?

What can you do if you don’t have any close family or friends that you can trust and rely on to as your attorneys? In such circumstances, Brodies would be happy to act on your behalf in relation to your financial and property affairs. We provide holistic services ranging from simple things like opening and reviewing mail; dealing with council tax and utilities; paying bills; arranging maintenance for your property; and checking bank statements to ensure there is no unusual or fraudulent activity. Other assistance we can provide is tax planning; making gifts; investing your wealth and liaising with your accountants and wealth advisors.

3. Advance directive

Have you considered putting an advance directive in place? This gives direction to your welfare attorneys and medical practitioners as to your wishes if you are in situation where you are receiving life prolonging treatment but there is little or no prospect of you recovering.

4. Pensions and finances

If you have not retired, have you completed nomination forms in respect of your pension and death in service? Would it be preferable for your pension benefits to pass to a trust? Do you have surplus income and would like to save inheritance tax? Many individuals overlook planning opportunities regarding pensions so you should take professional advice now.

5. Tax planning

Do you have a potential inheritance tax liability? Do you wish to pass wealth to future generations in a tax efficient manner? We can provide advice on inheritance tax and suggest ways to reduce any potential inheritance tax liability.

Capital gains are wiped out on death so it can be worthwhile considering if you, your spouse or civil partner have any capital gains. If so, you should take advice on any planning that can be undertaken.

Have you inherited wealth from your parents which you would prefer to pass onto your children or grandchildren to reduce any potential inheritance tax payable on your death? Providing a will is varied within two years of death, it is possible to redirect wealth by a deed of variation.

6. Care cost planning

The cost of care both at home and in a residential environment is increasingly a concern of clients. Would you like to protect your family home from residential care costs? When planning for care costs, it is important to take advice from a solicitor and consider important factors, including: your potential care requirements and the cost and potential duration of such care; your income; the nature and extent of your estate. Read more about planning for care home fees here.

If you wish to discuss any of the points in this article, please do not hesitate to contact one of the members of our personal and family team who would be delighted to assist you.


Sarah Gall

Legal Director