If you are thinking 'it won't affect me' then you may be wrong as Inheritance Tax is currently charged at 40% of the value of your estate above £325,000 and nowadays when taking into account the value of property, savings and life policies, this figure can easily be reached.

Inhertitance tax rules are complex, individuals have their own Nil Rate Band and Main Residence Allowance, with transferable allowances upon death for married couples, but despite this a lack of suitable inheritance tax planning means that each year the government raises millions of pounds in payments of inheritance tax from those who have died with estates exceeding the inheritance tax limit.

Nobody likes the idea of needlessly paying tax and most people would prefer to leave their assets to their children or grandchildren, rather than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Roy Jenkins once said, when Chancellor of the Exchequer in the late 1960's 'Inheritance Tax is a voluntary levy paid by those who distrust their heirs more than they dislike the Inland Revenue'

Whilst there may be an element of truth in this for some, generally it is more down to the lack of suitable planning as people are reluctant to deal with this issue. However, once you have taken the important steps to plan for this potential liability, then you will be glad you did knowing more of your estate will end up with your designated beneficiaries.

The first step is to make you aware of your potential liability and then finding suitable ways to negate this voluntary tax through the use of personal gifts, life policies and Trusts.

Most experts agree that state pensions alone are no longer enough to support the costs of living after you retire. Given this context, it is vital to plan for your financial situation in later years as soon as possible.

There are three key stages in retirement planning where we can work with you, in planning and reviewing your arrangements to assist you in achieving your retirement goals.

Pre-retirement; saving for retirement in the most tax efficient way to accrue funds for your retirement. This includes investment planning to help your assets grow, consolidating pension arrangements and making tax efficient contributions.

At retirement; Assessing all options available, to then recommend the most suitable and tax efficient way of generating your capital and income in retirement.

Post retirement; to continually review your arrangements, provide ongoing investment advice in order to assist you in meeting your income needs, whilst also optimising and phasing in any other benefits.

There are a multitude of ways in which you can save and then draw your retirement income. We can help you navigate the pension minefield ensuring you have the solution that's most appropriate for you.

RISK WARNING: Please note investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount invested.

Our experience and expertise means that we are well placed to advise you on your Investment Planning needs.

We will need to assess your attitude to risk, take into account your financial objectives and personal circumstances, before any recommendations can be made.

Investing money needs careful consideration, so our Financial Planners will work with you to devise a suitable portfolio ensuring that your money is invested as tax efficiently as possible. As we are independent we are able to choose from the whole of the market.

Before proceeding with any transaction we will ensure you are comfortable with the recommendations made.

As part of our ongoing service, we will review and monitor your investments in accordance with our service proposition.

RISK WARNING: Please note investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount invested.

The cornerstone of any financial plan is to ensure that adequate protection strategies are in place aimed at providing financial support in the event of an unexpected life changing event such as sickness, accidents, unemployment and bereavement.

It is a sad fact that whilst most of us will cover our car, house and travel arrangements to their full value, few of us take quite as much care over our health and loved ones. When hard times strike, the benefits paid for by the State and/or your employer may not be sufficient to give you the financial support you need.

Whilst insuring ourselves against an unexpected event may not be a pleasant thing to think about, the benefits of being able to set financial issues aside at emotionally difficult times cannot be overlooked.

For some clients, plans are best written under a Trust to ensure the monies are available for the right people at the right time.

If used correctly, protection planning could help alleviate all these problems, should they arise.

Find out more about how we work and the 5 step planning process