Many of us have firm views on how we want our estate and assets divided up amongst the family when we die. Writing a clear and detailed will goes a long way to achieve this, but bloodline planning takes it one step further by securely ring-fence your most valuable assets against family changes, such as divorce settlements and new blended families.
What is bloodline planning?
Bloodline planning is simply a series of steps you can take to ensure family assets stay in the family. It provides clarity in succession, so everyone knows what they will receive, or not. It enables you to separate out your assets and secure them for those who you want to inherit, and lock out those who you don’t want to benefit.
Supporting the family
Bloodline planning is very much about supporting the whole family after you have gone, including calculating:
- The amounts required to keep your spouse secure now and into old age
- Which children will be financially secure with or without your help
- Which children might struggle financially through no fault of their own
- The current marital status of children, and how that might affect inheritance
Think about your family
Like all your estate planning, bloodline planning takes time and thought - and a long hard look at the personalities and habits of your family members too.
- You may be very fond of your vivacious and popular nephew, but you know money runs through his fingers like water
- Your shy granddaughter may be a serious little girl, but you know she will use any inheritance, large or small, wisely
- Your son-in-law is a terrific businessman, but you’re not sure the marriage will last
The biblical parable of the talents is very apt for bloodline planning – you need to consider who will waste it, who will hoard it and who will use it.
Bloodline planning and trusts
Trusts enable you to ring fence certain assets and secure them for future generations. All trusts are administered by trustees who are responsible for ensuring that the trust fulfills your wishes as the settlor (person making the trust) and meets the needs of the beneficiaries of that trust. It may sound a little like overkill, but a trust has a very specific benefit; assets in a trust are not accounted for as part of your estate. So they are tax efficient when it comes to IHT passing down the generations. (Just to say, financial and other trusts are a service also offered through our sister company, Panthera Wealth.)
Family heirlooms: who wants what
There is a growing appreciation of items handed down through the generations, as witnessed by the popularity of the TV show “The Repair Shop”. Precious items damaged and worn by time, are brought in to be expertly repaired, conserved and restored. Many are not intrinsically valuable, but they are very precious. Inevitably, the item has already been earmarked for a junior or future member of the family to acquire.
Interestingly, items are often brought in by those who inherited them many years ago when younger, but only in later life do they appreciate the significance of that gift. They feel a duty to preserve family history that they did not do when younger, perhaps due to lack of time and money as well as lack of motivation.
That’s something worth bearing in mind when allocating who gets what from your estate. Bloodline planning can help you choose the right custodian of historic objects, and for the valuable ones too. A will clarity statement is particularly useful, giving you an additional document alongside the will to explain why that person is chosen and what you hope they might do with their gift.
Bloodline planning and divorce settlements
The good news is that in 2019 divorce rates in the UK fell to their lowest rates since 1971. The bad news is that:
- The average duration of a marriage in 2019 is just 12.5 years
- 42% of all marriages end in divorce
- There is a rise in the number of people divorcing when aged 65 or over
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So, bloodline planning is crucially important if you want specific members of your family to benefit, rather than their entire household. Divorce settlements can quickly diminish a sizeable legacy, as can spousal mismanagement. Blended families may include several step-children and extended family members that you may not wish to support. Your legacy may end up unintentionally supporting an ex son or daughter in law in their new marriage. As before, a trust can remove certain assets from the calculations for the financial settlement in a divorce, and ensure that direct blood relatives and descendants only receive the benefits of your hard work and prudent planning!
Families change, so your planning should too
Updating your bloodline planning provision is important to ensure that what you planned years back is in step with what is happening now and in the future. Legislation around trusts and legal documents such as powers of attorney have changed in the past few years, so it’s important to check your planning is still watertight. You may have new children, new grandchildren, a new business , a second home, etc. Equally, you might now have fewer assets due to a turn in fortunes, and need to readjust your provision.
At Panthera Estate Planning, we offer a free will and estate planning update review, so you can see what needs adjusting, what needs replacing, and what’s just fine as it is. We offer confidential and secure online consultations via all the popular video conferencing apps, so you don’t even have to leave home to benefit from our advice.
Call us and start protecting your assets for future generations with robust, comprehensive bloodline planning that is tailor-made for you and your family.