Estate Planning – Death and Taxes

I received a call recently from a person who informed me that he was acting on behalf of an Undertaker who was seeking to put an information brochure together for bereaved families, of service providers that could help them. He asked me if I provided estate planning and I said that I did and it was obvious that what he was seeking was for me to buy advertising space in this brochure. The words “stable door”, “horse” and “bolted” immediately came to mind.

He talked on for a couple of minutes about what they were seeking to do so not wanting to waste his time I interjected and told him that the thing about estate planning is that it has to be taken care of before death – it’s too late when you are lying in a casket in the funeral home. He said that he found that death tends to bring an appreciation of these issues – that he had a bereavement recently and it alerted him to the fact that it is better to deal with these issues while you’re alive. He felt that there was, as such, a ready market among the recently bereaved for my services.

It occurred to me that the message for the family would not be one that would ease their pain, it was basically going to be;

“Here lies John. John didn’t attend to his financial affairs while he was alive and now you have a large bill to pay”.

I don’t like marketing that uses fear to sell and this was going to be even worse; this was going to use regret. Rather than provoke him by telling him what I thought of his plan I told him that I wasn’t interested as I don’t target the geographical area which this Undertaker is located in.

It occurred to me afterwards that this is a good illustration of the fact that many people don’t take simple actions regarding their finances that will improve their situation down the line. It is especially true when it comes to longer term issues like retirement planning and estate planning. If I had put a listing in his brochure I am sure that it wouldn’t be lost on readers as many people think that estate planning is only for the very rich until they have to deal with an inheritance. Successive reductions in inheritance tax thresholds and increases in the capital acquisitions tax rate over the years mean that even families who don’t count themselves as rich can end up with a significant tax bill on inheriting family assets.

  • In 2008 a person who inherited assets valued at €500,000 from a parent wouldn’t have had any inheritance tax liability
  • Today a person in that situation could face an inheritance tax bill of €54,450

If you will be leaving assets in your will we can determine whether it will create a tax liability for the beneficiary well in advance. If we determine that it will, there are often actions which can be taken to reduce or eliminate the tax or, failing that, provide for it tax effectively.

Contact us on 01 546 1100, by using the contact form below, or by email to [email protected]

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© Highfield Financial Planning 2 October 2020

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