Protecting the Estates of your Single Clients

Generally, relatively few people receive adequate advice on the  protection and inter-generational tax planning of their estate, be it pensions, Death in Service (DIS) benefits, life cover, property assets, savings and investments or lifetime inter-generational transfers, it is up to you to rectify this with your own clients and make sure they are as prepared and informed as possible.

Integrated financial planning and effective legal planning are  essential in delivering the desired outcomes for single clients. The use of lifetime and deathtime Trust frameworks is a popular, reliable solution but many clients are rarely advised by legal service providers and others are led to believe they are overly complex, which need not be the case.

Many single people do not even have a Will at all and do not fully understand what difficulties can be created at probate and that their assets may not be directed where they would like them to go under intestacy rules.

Thankfully, the majority of clients have simple Wills that direct assets “absolutely” to their chosen Beneficiaries which is effective for directing wealth but inefficient in protecting it.

If your clients are parents or have family members who they wish to benefit from the wealth they have created during their lifetime, you should consider any possible future outcomes that may befall their chosen Beneficiaries or any concerns that exist now or may emerge in the future.

  • If they are not currently in a relationship, will the inheritance they leave potentially be at risk from a future partner?
  • If, historically, they are not good with money will the inheritance be used wisely?
  • Is there a controlling partner?
  • Are any relationships less than solid?
  • Is there a blended family relationship where a risk exists of the wealth not passing to only the chosen family members in future years?
  • Are any Beneficiaries wealthy enough in their own right such that the inheritance might create a future IHT issue for them and ultimately their children?

If you look beyond the inheritance to the Beneficiary, you will appreciate the potential threats that may occur in the future and should act now to address any concerns which may exist.

Questions and Answers

Are Beneficiary Protection Plan frameworks expensive to set up?

No, as a proportion of the value you protect it is typically much less than one percent of the estate value.

Are BPTs expensive to run?

No, apart from £10 nothing goes into them until your client dies, so until then there may only be an occasional cost e.g. changing a Trustee. You can charge an initial advice cost to the Trustees upon your clients death at your discretion.

Who should I advise my clients to nominate as Trustees?

You can encourage your clients to consider adult family members, or trusted friends as Trustees. It would need to be someone they can trust to have the best interest of their Beneficiaries.

What happens if my client wants to change the distribution of their estate?

It is usually possible to make most changes by means of a new instruction to the Trustees (Letter of Wishes).

How long does a BPT last for?

125 years in England and Wales and 80 years in Northern Ireland. Most families use them for at least one further generation.

Are BPTs taxed?

Under current rules there is no tax going into the Trust after any IHT has been paid. A Trust is like a person and has its own tax allowances for Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax.

Our solutions

Single people

Single persons, whether widowed, divorced or simply single, require specific advice customised to their needs.

Married couples

Protective benefits for married couples is particularly important and is a focus of our customised solutions.

Blended families

The control and distribution of assets within blended families can be complex, our solutions ensure the desired wealth transfers are guaranteed.


Co-habitees frequently have inefficient tax and protective arrangements for their estates, which can easily be avoided with bespoke planing.

£2m+ estates

Estates where Inheritance Tax is a potential issue can take legitimate actions to mitigate IHT. The majority of estates of £2 million+ have inefficient estate planning arrangements.

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