Protecting your Future and that of your Business
28th October 2020
The torchlight shone directly into my eyes !…. A bit of a shock: I was gradually waking from a coma in hospital having been the victim of a hit and run accident on a large motorbike in the middle of Singapore at night!
As I gradually regained my faculties and got used to all the various tubes which seemed to be keeping me alive I began to wonder … what if ?…. What if I hadn’t woken up but had remained unconscious? How on earth would my partner have been able to access funds to repatriate me back to the UK or pay the ongoing expenses involved in living and working thousands of miles away from home?
Many people don’t realise that even with a jointly held bank account, if one signatory is unable to sign as a consequence of an accident or the onset of dementia, for instance, the Bank can freeze or restrict access to the account until an order has been granted by the Court of Protection which can take many months and cause much worry and distress.
Ask me if I’m passionate about ensuring people have the right advice about putting arrangements in place. Control of their affairs in the event of an accident or loss of mental capacity is critical. In some ways it is more important than having a Will and you don’t need to be retired to start thinking about it- Michael Schumacher is a case in point! Accidents, dementia and even Covid 19 are impacting many of our lives.
The impact on a business should a Director not be in a position to act as a signatory on Bank Accounts, loan documents or contractual agreements can also be significant. Even worse control and continued ability to trade could be affected. On an unexpected death, arrangements must be actioned to ensure family beneficiaries can inherit a partner’s share in the business while the remaining Directors/Partners maintain the ability to continue to trade. Business Property Relief for inheritance tax purposes will also be a consideration.
When it comes to arranging a Will it is really important to make sure that everything you have worked hard for all your life is passed on to your loved ones and children. You must not risk your home being assessed for potential care home fees or left to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as a “principal beneficiary.” Executors need to know clearly their responsibilities.
When you engage a Will Writer or arrange Lasting Powers of Attorney, do ensure that the individual is a Member of the Society of Will Writers. Taking professional advice needn’t cost a fortune, and ensures you protect and secure your family’s inheritance.
Martin Gill, Cert PFS, Aff.SWW
Gilbro Group LLP