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Your Financial Health Check

These unprecedented times have emphasised how important it is to have a resilient savings and investments structure in place. Undertaking a full financial health check is very important as it can answer a series of key questions.

Wills and probate

More than half of UK adults don’t have a will in place and whilst it may feel exhausting to deal with such issues during this time, creating one is essential.

With your beneficiaries, make sure you reflect any changes to your will as soon as possible to ensure that your estate is distributed to the right people, according to your wishes. With your executor, review your decision on a regular basis and choose someone you fully trust to organise your estate and make sure that your wishes are fulfilled.

Life cover

Your life cover should be arranged in a suitable trust to ensure the proceeds do not form part of your estate and are therefore not subject to inheritance tax.

If you own a business, a tax-efficient life cover plan will pay a tax-free lump sum to your employee’s dependents if they pass away while on your payroll.

Pension contribution limits

Please be aware of recent changes to the Tapered Annual Allowance. Income thresholds have been raised for the tax year 2020-2021, meaning a new threshold income of £200,000 and adjusted income of £240,000.

The minimum Annual Allowance for those who are fully tapered will reduce from £10,000 to £4,000. It is important to ensure you are not overpaying and at risk of a penalty. If you’re uncertain about whether you’re at risk of breaching the limits, contact us for guidance.

Retirement

Everyone’s ideal retirement will paint a different picture and it’s important to ensure that you are consistently saving in line with your desired retirement age.

You will need to understand when and how you can draw your pension to ensure you have enough money saved for the age at which you plan to retire.

Applying for critical illness cover

Some insurers are still taking applications, but the process may be delayed, particularly if you have had coronavirus symptoms or needed to self-isolate.

If you are left with critical complications due to coronavirus, your policy should still pay out if that complication is already covered. Remember to check the fine print in all cases.

Investments

Stock market volatility has led many to reconsider the structure of their investment portfolio to protect against fluctuations. Individual Savings Accounts provide great opportunities for tax relief alongside Venture Capital Trusts and the Enterprise Investment Scheme.

Equity release

A lifetime mortgage currently offers exceptionally low base interest rates and rates set for life, which is why it makes good financial sense to review your position now.

Due to rules on social distancing, the Equity Release Council is temporarily allowing advice to be given remotely by video or telephone (though it must be recorded).

Most lifetime mortgages also include a no negative equity guarantee, ensuring you will never owe more than your home is worth. To understand the features, costs and risks of a lifetime mortgage, contact us for a personalised illustration.

Private medical insurance

PMI policies are adapting to the current situation with new services including online GP telephone and video consultations, additional mental health support and 24/7 helplines with access to medical professionals to answer questions about treatment and medication.

Some providers are accepting applications. There might be a delay where additional medical evidence is required. You may also have to answer specific coronavirus questions.

If you have an existing policy you will want to protect your underwriting status and level of cover, as new exclusions and limits are being introduced.

You can still make claims and providers are looking at ways to verify claims without GP reports. All non-urgent treatment is on hold and most insurers are offering digital access to GP’s and specialists.

If you would like some more information on what Simmons Gainsford can offer regarding your current financial planning structure, Please email us advice@sgfinancialservices.co.uk or call 020 8371 3143