Many of us have been meaning to get around to looking at our financial arrangements for a long time. The usual cry is lack of time but with everything around us on hold, it must be an opportune moment to step back and make sure our affairs are all in good order and as we would want them to be. With the Covid-19 situation, it is inevitable to focus on your own mortality. Do your loved ones know where to find your financial information and -importantly – your Will? Possibly the Will reflects circumstances or assets which are out of date? Are your executors still the right people for you?
It helps you if you have a clear financial plan for your lifetime and helps those left behind if there is a clear plan for your death. You might find it helpful to pull together a “balance sheet” as a summary of all your assets and liabilities perhaps with a list of your advisers as well. We can help you assemble the information and we can then review it with you to ensure your wishes are clear and can be met.
The reality of today’s situation is that many of us are having to adjust to a reduced income for themselves or may have to financially support our families for an uncertain amount of time and it is worthwhile checking the most appropriate way to do so. While there are several government support initiatives to assist with keeping businesses afloat and retaining jobs, which we have commented on separately, there are also implications for personal cash flow. Notably the tax payments due at 31 July can be deferred. This may or may not be the right thing to do depending on your cash resources and the amount you will have to pay in January.
As we start the new tax year, we will be thinking about tax return preparation. Now is a good time to bring your records together and send your information to us so that we can maximise the chances of providing you with advice on your liabilities, whether there is anything you could do to reduce the tax (such as making pension contributions or claiming early relief for your gifts to charity) and , at the least, plan your cash flow.
The lockdown will not last forever so take the opportunity to make good use of it. If you would like to talk to us further, we are happy to help and you can speak to your usual Mercer & Hole partner or Lisa Spearman or Gill Tallon.