At the start of every year it’s natural to look back and consider not only what’s been achieved, but also what needs to happen in the next year. As a private wealth lawyer, I encourage my clients every year to use this time to consider whether their Wills, tax planning and general financial arrangements are up to muster. This year, however, as we enter the 2020’s, the idea of a cross-check seems especially important.
Social media is currently full of people posting photos from ten years ago and now; in fact, the below photos are of me now and from February 2011 (not quite ten years ago, but it’s when I was admitted as a Solicitor). Looking at the photos was a reminder of how much has changed in a decade for me, and how clients should be thinking about the same. A similar compare and contrast exercise such as this can be conducted in relation to finances.
Think about it – how many Wills prepared ten years ago might now be out of date due to further children / grandchildren being born? How many families might have altered due to marriage or divorce? Equally, sadly, how many people’s arrangements have been affected and should be renewed in light of the passing of loved ones? Finally, and I hope this applies to you, it may be that your wealth has increased so that tax planning which wasn’t relevant ten years ago, could now reap rewards! Whatever situation might apply to you, it’s important to take a step back at the start of this new year and reflect on what has changed over the past decade and how this might affect your financial arrangements.
However, it’s not just changes in your life that should give you pause. The legal framework of wealth management itself has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Tax planning measures which were perfectly acceptable and proper ten years ago, may now be out of date. Ten years ago, for example, the rules around the Nil Rate Band were different (the so-called additional Residence Nil Rate Band only being introduced in 2015), and a whole host of other changes have taken place too. It is therefore just as important to ensure that any processes related to your financial arrangements are similarly up to date and still relevant in this brand-new decade.
So, look at those photos from ten years ago and consider the changes in your life and whether, because of them, it’s time for another discussion with us here at Moore Blatch. We are always here to help, even if looking at our photos, we’re unfortunately not as youthful as we once were!