Retirement Planning – Legal advice for the fun years!
Retirement, after years of work, should be fun. You should try and do some of the things you dreamed of doing all your life. It is perhaps also a time to be a bit naughty, have a spend, visit a place in the sun or take a cruise for weeks on end. Yes, it is the preliminary to the arrival of old age, but that said you are only as old as you feel, and there is plenty of evidence that there is a lot of truth in this. It is very noticeable that the more physically and mentally active you are the less likely you are to suffer from common symptoms of ageing.
As we get older and despite our best efforts, we do actually become frailer and there is a tendency for our memory and mental agility to gradually decline. Sadly, a bit like death and taxes, this is an inevitable part of life. At Herrington Carmichael, we have many years of experience helping people (who are facing the joys of retirement and the subsequent process of ageing) to plan for the future. Whilst one may not wish to think about this, the fact remains that, planning in advance is always far better than putting everything off, as there’s always a danger that if you put things off, you will miss the boat.
What should I be looking to do?
I write as someone heading for retirement myself or the onset of old age – what should we be thinking about? Assuming you have got your finances in order, the next thing to think about is generally inheritance tax planning. Some people think that you should be doing this from the age of about 40, but for most of us, that is premature. However, we would always recommend anybody who has reached retirement age, to spend a little time thinking about whether or not they have an inheritance tax problem and if so what steps should be taken to mitigate tax.
Then there’s the issue of your will. In the ideal world, you have made a will many years ago, but it is something that needs to be reviewed periodically and kept up-to-date with your circumstances; failure to do this can result in all sorts of problems for your family and relatives. This is particularly important for anybody who is single or in a relationship with another person to whom they are not married.
Next on the list is power of attorney. You may never want to delegate responsibility for your affairs to somebody else, but many of us find it is very useful. It covers the situation when you are temporarily indisposed (either on that long promised hike to Machu Pichu, or hospitalised by illness), and the longer term situation, if you actually ceased to be able to manage your affairs or to make rational decisions. Sadly for a few of us, loss of mental capacity can arrive unexpectedly. It might happen if you have a serious accident, or a stroke, meaning it’s not possible to create a lasting power of attorney. In those circumstances, it may be necessary to think about using the Court of Protection, which is part of the High Court designed to assist people who have lost capacity. As well as advising on all other parts of the law relating to the older client, we do have specialists dealing with Court of Protection.
For those with a small or scattered family, there is also the Herrington Carmichael Trust Corporation, which is able to take on acting as your Attorney, Executors or Trustee thereby sparing you of the worry of what is to happen if there is no one available to take on these tasks.
Lastly, there is the sad inevitability of death and the requirements of dealing with the administration of estates, frequently a complex and daunting exercise.
The Herrington Carmichael Private Wealth team has well over a century’s worth of accumulated experience in all the above topics, which we are able to approach with sympathy and where necessary a degree of good humour.
For further advice or to arrange an appointment please contact a member of the Private Client team.
This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.
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We are solicitors in Camberley, Wokingham and London. In 2019, Herrington Carmichael won ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ at the Thames Valley Business Magazines Property Awards, ‘Best Medium Sized Business’ at the Surrey Heath Business Awards and we were named IR Global’s ‘Member of the Year’. We are ranked as a Leading Firm 2020 by Legal 500 and Alistair McArthur is ranked in Chambers 2020.