Why not gift that money now and watch others benefit?

By Dan Hiles, Chartered Financial Planner, Brunel Capital Partners

Many people, understandably, have a wish to leave a legacy on their death. One of the questions we often ask clients is why not gift that money now and watch others benefit from it while you are alive?

There are several responses to this question but the most common is a reluctance to give away capital that may be needed in the future. Again this is totally understandable but I would argue doesn’t always reflect your true financial position – you simply may not know how much is enough… yet.

By using our cash flow forecasting software we are able to run through scenarios with our you to see how much is enough and what amount of capital you are realistically never going to need during your lifetime. If you haven’t seen the full impact of our cash flow forecasting this could be a good time to start. If you are already familiar – are you harbouring any desire to explore gifting further?

One of our clients recently admitted to me that they would dearly like to help their Granddaughter out with education costs as her parents were struggling to raise the finances. They were passionate about helping their family but had not yet given themselves permission to handover the money for fear they would need it themselves. By making some conservative assumptions we demonstrated that they could comfortably gift the money and never run out themselves. The outcome – a very happy family and the reward for the Grandparents of seeing their heard-earned wealth used for the good of their loved ones!

It isn’t always about helping family. We all become touched by a particular good cause or local project that would benefit hugely from additional support. What if you could help a local good cause or a charity close to your heart and then see the benefits to those you have helped? Surely that is a more rewarding use of your surplus capital than sitting and waiting for them to benefit after your demise.

People who go through this process feel a great peace of mind to know they will never run out of money but also an immense sense of satisfaction that they could pass on money now and enjoy seeing the benefits to those they have helped.

Not only is this an emotionally rewarding experience, it makes good sense for Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning too.

Everyone has an ‘annual exemption’ of £3,000 to make gifts without IHT consequences as well as smaller gifts of £250 but more substantial gifts are also possible and providing you live another seven years will be completely free of IHT allowing wealth to pass through generations.

Those wanting more control or not wanting to make large gifts have a range of other options to mitigate IHT. The message is the same as always – talk to us about it. You might be surprised what you can give away now without jeopardising your own lifestyle.

Dan Hiles, 0117 214 0870, dan@brunelcp.com