Image courtesy of szeke, Flickr

The Triggers for writing your Will

Is age or life changes the more significant factor?

To some extent, the age at which someone should write a Will very much depends on individual circumstances. You can make a Will any time after you are 18 years old, but there are some life events that you might think of as triggers for the preparation of a Will.

Financial Independence

Some people find that they become financially independent from their parents quite quickly, whereas others continue to be dependent on them well into their twenties, perhaps because they are attending university or are in post-graduate study.

Under the intestacy rules, if an unmarried person without children dies without writing a Will, their assets will go to their parents (or other relatives if the parents are deceased). This might not be a problem while you continue to be dependent on your parents, but, on achieving financial independence and acquiring some assets of your own, you may begin to think differently. Perhaps there are other people or groups you’d like to leave assets to?

Getting Married

Marriage, civil partnership or even the recognition that a couple is in a long-term relationship might be a trigger for the making of a Will. Those triggers may have less to do with age than an acknowledgement that you want to provide for your spouse or partner in a manner that is different to what the intestacy rules would dictate. That might be especially true for long-term couples who are not married or in civil partnerships, but who own a house together or otherwise have arrangements that would be disrupted if the intestacy rules were to apply.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average age for first marriage is around 30 for men and 28 for women. That, of course, can vary enormously, but it would seem reasonable for people in their late 20s or early 30s to consider making a Will.

Having Children

When you have children, you are likely to have two main concerns about what happens if you should die. First and foremost, who will look after them? And secondly, what assets will be available to provide for their welfare? A Will enables you to address both these points, as you can use it to appoint guardians for your children and to allocate money and other assets (by way of a trust or otherwise) for the benefit of your children.

Re-marriage

A person who re-marries, either after a divorce or the death of a spouse, will want to make a new Will, as any prior Will (other than one made in anticipation of the new marriage) will be automatically revoked by the new marriage. This applies equally to civil partnerships.

Terminal Illness

A person with a terminal illness who does not have a Will may want to make one rather than have their entire assets pass under the intestacy rules. It sometimes happens that people with terminal illnesses have a particular desire to make a charitable bequest to a hospice, a charity related to their disease or to the care and treatment they have received.

How can we help?

Although a mentally competent person can make a Will any time after the age of 18, it is more likely to be a life event, rather than attaining any particular age, that will lead him them to write a Will. When anticipating events involving family relationships, children or an unmarried partner in a long-term relationship, one will want to consider making a Will. To find out how we can help, please contact us today – we look forward to hearing from you.

 

Image courtesy of WooWork.com, Flickr

Estate planning for unmarried couples: what you need to know

There is a misconception that unmarried couples who have lived together for a long time – and maybe even had children together – will, for legal purposes, be treated as a married couple. However, this simply isn’t true. And when it comes to estate planning, the ‘default’ legal positions for married and unmarried couples are very different.

In general, unmarried couples who do not have Wills and do nothing about estate planning can expect to pay a higher rate of Inheritance Tax (IHT) and may face intestacy rules that force the disposition of their assets in a way that they might not want or intend.

Why it’s important for unmarried partners to have wills

Consider, for example, an unmarried couple who have lived together for many years and who have several children.

If one of them were to die without a Will, the intestacy rules would apply. Under those rules, the deceased’s entire estate would go to the children in equal proportions. The surviving partner would have no automatic right to any part of the estate and would need to make an application to the court in order to claim some share of the deceased’s estate.

If the couple had no children, then the deceased’s estate would go to other family members of the deceased. Again, the surviving partner would have to apply to the court to make a claim against the estate for financial provision*.

So it’s easy to see why it is particularly important for unmarried partners to have Wills, at least where they are concerned about making financial provision for the surviving partner when one of the partners dies.

The good news is that where both unmarried partners are still alive, they can plan for the disposition of their respective states by making Wills, and by getting appropriate tax advice and putting it into effect.

They can also consider items such as living Wills and lasting powers of attorney, which may assist one partner in caring for a partner who becomes incapacitated.

*The legislation governing such applications applies only in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, there may be remedies for a surviving cohabitee under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006.

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of Patrícia Almeida on Flickr

WannaCry Cyber Attack: Important information

In what is being called the biggest ransomware attack ever, over 200,000 computers around the world have been affected in the past week by the WannaCry cyber attack. The attack hit over 150 countries, encrypted the data of 200,000 computers and affected organisations such as the NHS, putting lives in danger.

This is not the first cyber attack and won’t be the last – and only serves to highlight what a major issue cyber security is for businesses and individuals.

With cyber-crime becoming such a common and widespread problem, it is becoming crucial that companies of all sizes are educated on cyber security to avoid being left vulnerable to attacks.

WannaCry exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft, who released a software patch to fix it in March, however many users fail to install updates and patches on their computers meaning vulnerabilities can remain open a lot longer and make it easier to exploit.

Cyber security threats can affect all sizes of company. It is critical that staff are educated on the implications of cyber security as a business risk.

What is Ransomware?

There are two main types of ransomware – lock screen ransomware, where screens are locked to bar access, and encryption ransomware, where files are altered and opening prevented until an encryption key is applied. Either way, a ransom – usually payable in Bitcoins – is demanded, and which affected organisations must pay, or lose critical data.

As cyber criminals become ever more sophisticated, businesses can be infected by ransomware via a number of routes but typically email, through accessing malicious websites or due to flaws in installed software (and omitting to apply patches).

Top tips to protect your business

The recent attack was a warning of the dangers that cyber-crime presents. Most businesses will have in place some of the measures IT professionals believe are essential for protecting businesses from cyber crime:

1. Install anti-virus, web filtering and firewalls

2. Keep software updates patches applied

3. Backup your files and data

4. Keep your employees trained – Be careful what you click on! It’s essential to keep reminding employees of these potential ransomware threats. (The malware of this attack was distributed by phishing emails)

Cyber crime originating through email is common, often sent as mass random communications. Therefore, it’s worth ensuring employees receive regular training to remind them of potential hazards. Emails incorporating malicious links still create issues for many businesses. Some tell-tale signs to look for include:

• You should only click on emails that you are sure came from a trusted source

• Emails claiming to be from well known, reputable organisations. These may have email ‘from’ addresses that differ very slightly from the official address – i.e. a 0 replacing O

• Emails may have been sent by one of your contacts, whose own accounts have been hacked. These can often be identified as they contain a short – often nonsensical message – and (malicious) link

• Social media networks or instant messaging may also contain links to malware

• Increasingly, malware is distributed via every-day type documents that invite users to enable macros. A robust policy regulating download privileges, defining rights per employee can extend protection across the business

5. Formalise security policies

6. Instigate a robust password policy

8. Turn off computers immediately if suspicious activity is detected

Aside from financial losses, the reputation of an organisation can be greatly damaged.

We are advising businesses to obtain a cyber liability insurance quotation. Please contact PK Partnership on 020 8681 4994

 

Image Courtesy of Flickr_Ishan Manjrekar

PK Partnership… do good, have fun!

 

Education is vital for the social and economic wellbeing of any country. Our focus is specifically on basic education and skills development.

We believe charity starts at home and our mission is to empower disadvantaged communities through education.

In the midst of poverty, inequality and unemployment, this ideal sounds unachievable however, we are committed to giving back to the communities in which we have become grateful to and have helped put us where we are today.

Our chosen charity this year is Old Kampala Alumni Scholarship Fund (OKAS). This charity is close to our heart as our founder Prakash Patel was educated there and is now an ambassador for the project. Our aim is to work together with Old Kampala Alumni Scholarship Fund to achieve “what it did for us”.

Objectives

The project we are sponsoring this year is to raise enough funds for each student to have a set of text books. The amount required for this project is £70,000.

The overarching objective of OKAS is the improvement of the quality of life and the future of Uganda.

We want this positive impact to turn the students of today into ambassadors of the future, just like us.

To find out more about OKAS please click here.

PK Partnership Focus Areas

At PK Partnership, we believe that volunteerism is our most sustainable resource and we will be visiting the project and reporting our progress through our regular client newsletter, In Focus.

Prakash Patel – Ambassador, OKAS Fund and Founder of PK Partnership

Registered UK Charity No. 1159825.

 

Image courtesy of Flickr_Sheila Sund

Life Assurance Cover

 

Funding a potential Inheritance Tax liability

After taking the appropriate steps to put in place an Inheritance Tax planning strategy, if there is still the potential likelihood of a liability on your estate, or if you have made gifts which have created a potential liability for the recipients if you die within seven years, we can help you review how you could fund this liability in the most efficient way.

By using life assurance cover, it is possible to use the proceeds to fund a potential IHT liability whenever it may arise. Life assurance cover is often the only means of providing immediate protection against a future IHT liability. Each premium payment is classed as a gift for IHT purposes.

The 2 common policy types are:

• Whole of life policies – to generate a payment on death to cover the tax liability on the estate

• Reducing term policies – to cover the tax liability payable by the recipient of a gift if the donor dies within seven years

Any policy designed to produce benefits free of IHT for your chosen beneficiaries must be written in an appropriate trust.

The trust will enable policyholders to retain control over the ultimate destination of the benefits.

 

Image Courtesy of Flickr_Ishan Manjrekar

In Focus Spring 2017

The latest version of In Focus is out including your year end checklist.

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Gumball 3000 announce new insurance partnership

PK Partnership has teamed up with Gumball 3000 as the official insurance partner of the organisation.

Maximillion Cooper, Founder and CEO of The Gumball 3000 Group said, “Gumball 3000 is pleased to announce our new relationship with PK Partnership. We are excited to work with them on the 2017 ‘Riga to Mykonos’ rally and are sure that they will go above and beyond to ensure their first class service is delivered to each and every participant in the rally. We look forward to a long and prosperous working relationship together.”

PK Partnership Director, Amit Patel said, “We are delighted to be the official insurance partner of Gumball 3000. We have worked very hard over the past few months to deliver a demanding insurance proposal that works for Maximillion and his membership that is second to none. The rally and high net worth market is an important focus for PK Partnership and to be appointed by a brand recognised globally is a fantastic endorsement of our expertise. We are passionate about delivering a first class service and I am excited to work with Gumball to explore the great opportunities this partnership will deliver.”

Gumball 3000 was launched in 1999 by British entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper, following his vision to combine action sports, automobiles and music to create a popular culture lifestyle brand. It all began by Maximillion inviting his celebrity friends to join him on an action packed road-trip across Europe, driving beautiful cars and hosting legendary parties attended by Kate Moss, Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue and Johnny Knoxville. Over the following decade the concept grew from an underground car rally, fuelled by myth and rumor, into a global brand attracting the endorsement of blue chip corporations such as Nike, YouTube, Fiat and Red Bull – and the participation of celebrities including; Afrojack, deadmau5, David Hasselhoff, Snoop Dogg, EVE, Major Lazer,Travis Barker, Xzibit, Adrien Brody, Tyson Beckford, David Guetta, Tony Hawk and Dennis Rodman.

For all enquiries please call 020 8681 4994.

PK Partnership Mortgage

Budget Snapshot 2017

The Budget statement was delivered today at 12.30pm by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond. This is the final ‘Spring Budget’, in the future the Budget will only be made in the Autumn.

Introduction

• This budget takes forward the plan for a brighter future and sets the platform for a stronger, fairer, more global Britain.

• This Spring budget will be the last

• The budget will only take place in the Autumn with effect from Autumn 2017

• From 2018 there will be a ‘Spring Statement’ but no major fiscal announcements

Forecasts

• The Chancellor announced adjustments to previous growth forecasts from those previously announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

• Growth forecast for 2017 – revised up from 1.4% to 2.0%

• Growth forecast for 2018 – revised down from 1.7% to 1.6%

• OBR borrowing forecast revised to £51.7bn for 2016/17 (£16.7bn less than forecast in the Autumn Statement)

• OBR borrowing forecast revised down to £58.3bn for 2017/18

• OBR borrowing forecast revised down to £40.8bn for 2018/19

Taxation / Welfare / Finance

• Business with less than VAT threshold turnover will have quarterly tax reporting delayed by 1 year.

• Business Rates – Series of measures to cut business rates by £435m

• Any business losing small business rate relief will be subject to a cap to lessen the burden

• £1,000 discount to all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000

• Fund made available to local authorities for bespoke hardship cases

• Long term, preferred approach to be set out in due course by the government with a view to more regular revaluation

• Personal allowance to rise to £11,500 from 2017 / £12,500 by the end of this parliament

• Higher rate of tax threshold to increase to £45,000 from 2017 / £50,000 by the end of this parliament

• Preliminary thoughts provided on the subject of moving towards employed and self-employed being treated equally for tax

• Corporation Tax to be cut to 17% by April 2020 as planned

• Class 2 NICs to be abolished / From April 2018 Class 4 NICs for self-employed to be raised to 10% with a further 1% increase in 2019

• Director shareholder tax free dividend allowance to be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.

• New NS&I bond will pay 2.2% on deposits up tp £3,000 from April 2017

• National living wage to increase in April 2017 from £7.20 to £7.50

• Universal credit taper rate to be cut from 65% to 63% from April 2017

Infrastructure/Transport

• £300m to support research talent on stem subjects.

• Ambition for UK to be a world leader in 5G – further £16m investment in digital infrastructure.

• Major projects to continue to be implemented across the Northern Powerhouse (£390m for North and £23m for midlands road network).

• Additional monies made available for low emission and driverless car technology.

• £350m for Scottish Government / £200m for Welsh government / £120m for incoming Northern Ireland executive.

Health / Education / Child Welfare

• 2017 will see the introduction of tax free childcare.

• From Sept, working parents with 3 & 4 year olds will get 30hrs of free childcare.

• Investment to be made in skills and education. New funding for a further 110 new free schools on top of the current commitment of 500.

• Free school transport to be made available to all children on free school meals who attend a free school.

• £216m over next 3 years to be invested into existing schools.

• T Levels to be introduced with 15 clear careers focussed routes / 16 to 19 year old students to have practical training time increased by over 50%. Additional £500m per year to be invested in 16 to 19 year olds.

• Education department to invest £140m in pilot projects for lifelong learning

• Care system placing pressure on NHS. £2bn grant funding pledged over the next 3 years for new social care packages in England / Green paper due later in 2017 on the subject of future financing of social care.

• Inappropriate A&E attendance – £100m capital available immediately for triage projects at English hospitals in time for next winter.

Excise Duty

• No changes to fuel, alcohol and tobacco.

• Minimum excise duty of £7.35 on cigarettes.

National Insurance and the self employed

• Flat rate class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) of £2.80 a week will be abolished from April 2018 as announced in last year’s Budget.

• Class 4 NICs will increase from 9% to 10% from April 2018 and 11% from April 2019.

• These changes mean that only someone with annual profits of more than £16,250 in 2019/2020 must pay more NICs; and in combination with the increases in the personal allowance, only someone with profits of more than £32,900 in 2019/2020 could have to pay more in tax and NICS than in 2015/2016.

Income tax: dividend allowance reduction

• The dividend tax allowance will reduce from £5000 to £2000 from April 2018.

• Anybody who receives a £10,000 dividend payment this will be affected as follows:

Reducing the money purchase annual allowance (MPAA)

• As announced in the Autumn Statement, the MPAA will be reduced from £10,000 to £4000 from April this year.

• No changes are made in how the MPAA will operate.

• Unused MPAA remains unavailable to carry forward for later years.

Qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes (QROPS): charge on transfers

• There will be a 25% overseas transfer charge on transfers to QROPS requested on or after 9 March 2017 unless at least one of the following applies:

i. both the client and the QROPS are in the same country after the transfer;

ii. ii. the QROPS is an EEA state (the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) and the client is resident in another EEA state after the transfer;

iii. the QROPS is an occupational pension scheme sponsored by the client’s employer; or

iv. the QROPS is an overseas public service pension scheme and the client is employed by one of the employers paying into the scheme.

• Gibraltar is considered part of the EU. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not in the EEA.

• UK tax charges will apply to a tax free transfer if, within five tax years, an individual becomes resident in another country so that the exemptions would not have applied to the transfer.

• UK tax will be refunded if the individual made a taxable transfer and within five tax years one of the exemptions applies to the transfer.

• Payments out of funds transferred to a QROPS on or after 6 April 2017 will be subject to UK tax rules for five tax years after the date of transfer no matter where the individual is resident.

• Transfer to a QROPS will remain a benefit crystallisation event and the overseas transfer charge will be applied after the deduction of any lifetime allowance charge.

PLEASE NOTE: This snapshot is not intended as an in-depth analysis of the Chancellor’s speech (we will leave that to the industry commentators and experts) but we hope this brief summary helps you gain a quick grasp on the key points delivered by the Chancellor from the dispatch box.

For full details of the following headlines (and more) you may wish to visit the HM Treasury website.

 

Image Courtesy of Flickr_Ishan Manjrekar

The ‘convenience difference’ between standard and non-standard personal insurance

A motor insurance client was driving through the countryside on a Sunday evening in Surrey when their Mercedes-Benz was unfortunately struck by a deer that ran out in front of the vehicle. Fortunately the driver nor their passengers were injured but the animal caused significant damage to the car.

Mr P rang their specialist high net worth insurers emergency claim line immediately and they were back in contact within 15 minutes asking what time the client would like a replacement like for like car courtesy car delivered to their office the next day.

The client was very impressed with the level of service and said that the insurer could not have done a better job!

 

Image courtesy of John&Fish, Flickr

New Year Checklist to put you in the best financial position

 

We hope you have had a good start to 2017. We’ve put together a quick checklist to put you in the best possible position to start the year and also protect you and your family should the worst occur.

 

A few questions for you to consider…

• If you are aged over 55, have you taken advice about the options for drawing your pension savings?

• Have you considered the timing of dividends and bonuses to minimise tax rates?

• Are you on track to use this year’s ISA allowance and made any other tax-efficient investments before 6 April 2017?

• Could you exempt half of this year’s or last year’s capital gains by reinvesting the gains in a SEIS?

• Could you transfer income to your partner to minimise higher and additional rate taxation next year, to maximise the tax-free savings and dividend income limits, or to avoid losing child benefit?

• Are you making use of your annual capital gains tax exempt amount by making any available disposals before 6 April 2017?

• Have you made gifts to use your annual inheritance tax allowances?

• Are you investing enough in your pension if you wish to, or have to, retire earlier than state pension age, which is likely to keep going up?

 

Investments are great but equally as important is protecting you and your family.

• Do you have the right level of life insurance? What would happen to you and your family if you suddenly couldn’t work?

• Have you written a Will? It’s a common misconception that assets automatically pass to a spouse or registered civil partner on death, but if you don’t have a Will in place your estate will be distributed under the UK rules of intestacy, which means the law decides who inherits your estate and in what proportions.

 

For independent financial advice please contact PK Partnership on 020 8681 4994

 

 

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