Accountants immerse themselves in the tax system, looking for ways to enable people to keep more of their own cash. Seeking the advice of an accountant, when you’re preparing to draw up your will, can save your beneficiaries a substantial sum because they are experts in tax loopholes.
An accountant can also help your short and long term estate planning:
Short term. An accountant can advise you on trusts to incorporate into your will to help set in stone who gets what and when after your death.
Long term. An accountant can advise you on how to distribute your estate to your nearest and dearest and reduce any eventual tax liability.
While you may have some understanding of the legal and financial basics, which may be enough to write your own will, but having an accountant can to check it over can put your mind at rest. After all, if you make a mistake it may only come to light when your beneficiary has an unexpected tax demand land on their doorstep.
Accountants charge a flat fee for completing a specific task, such as setting up a trust, or charge by the hour. Top rated accountants can charge £100 or even £150 per hour. With hourly fees like this, it is very important to agree at the outset how much work needs to be done and at what price.
Preparing to meet the professionals – checklist
Take advantage of the free initial consultation that many solicitors and accountants offer. Take the following information with you when consulting an accountant or solicitor:
Your personal details and those of your partner.
Your children’s details.
Details of any stepchildren or ex-spouse.
Details of your executors, trustees, and guardians.
The approximate value of your home and the most recent mortgage statement.
Life insurance policies.
Information about your pension agreements.
A list of your assets and debts
A list of all major gifts you have made in the past seven years (these may be subject to inheritance tax).
Before agreeing to engage the services of a particular accountant or solicitor, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I feel confident about using this professional?
Do I understand everything the professional told me?
Did the professional fully understand what I am looking for?
Am I certain how much the advice costs me?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, ask for clarification or simply don’t go there. There is no shortage of solicitors and accountants in the UK.