Coronavirus: what you need to do personally

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2 min read

Coronavirus is impacting individuals, their families and their business interests in many ways. Our team of Private Wealth experts have put together a list of things you should be considering.

Ensure your Will is up to date and if you have no Will make one with professional assistance.  Despite 2017 recommendations by the Law Commission and the Law Society of England and Wales recently lobbying the Ministry of Justice to make urgent changes to the current execution requirements, the Ministry of Justice has made it clear that these will not change. My colleague Lucy Mitchell’s article comments further on Will signing formalities​

Put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place to cover finances and also health and care. These need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. You should seek professional assistance to ensure that these important documents are effective well ahead of any potential loss of mental capacity.

Review and update nominations and expressions of wishes relating to pension death benefits and death in service payments.

Review and update life insurance arrangements.

Your estate planning strategy is likely to be impacted by the financial effects of the coronavirus crisis. For example, if you make regular gifts out of income, it may not be prudent to assume that your income will continue at past levels. On the other hand, whilst asset values continue to be generally depressed, this may be an opportunity to make capital gifts with less capital gains or inheritance tax triggered compared with when values were higher.

Co-parenting arrangements may feel impossible to comply with given the restrictions on movement announced on 23 March 2020. On 24 March, the Government updated the guidance it released to add the following "Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes." Our @FamilyLawVlogger has posted about this here.

Financial arrangements relating to the breakdown of marriages, civil partnerships and co-habiting couples will be affected by changes in the financial circumstances of the parties and, in some cases, may be varied.

Restrictions on movement will affect the tax residence status of some individuals. HMRC updated its guidance on what exceptional circumstances may lead to them disregarding days spent in the UK.

If the sale price of real estate inherited in the last four years is negatively impacted, HMRC will substitute the sale price for the probate value and this will lead to an inheritance tax refund.

HMRC applies a similar approach to inherited shares or securities but to qualify for an inheritance tax refund, the shares or securities must be sold within twelve months of the relevant death.

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