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I am a Partner at Irwin Mitchell and head up its private client team in Newbury.
I help individuals and their families with all aspects of succession, tax and asset protection planning. This includes advice on wills, inheritance tax, capital gains tax, trusts, probate, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters.
Whether it's guiding clients through their options to maximise wealth for themselves and the next generation or helping them through the emotional time of bereavement or poor health, my approach is refreshingly 'unstuffy', always professional, hopefully with a few smiles along the way and focussed on building long term relationships as a trusted adviser.
I work closely with other private client professionals, such as financial advisers, accountants and wealth managers, to complement the advice and services they give their clients.
At sixth form college, law sounded impressive as a degree choice so I went that route at university but combined it with French to hedge my bets. As I enjoyed the law modules far more than the French ones it seemed natural to pursue a legal career so, quite a few years on, here I am.
Working with a wide range of individuals and families to help alleviate the stress, navigate through the complications and spot the opportunities in whatever they happen to be facing in their lives.
I do a lot of cycling and running. I also enjoy swimming, particularly open water, just enough to combine the three disciplines and compete in Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons with my local tri club.
“These changes amount to a new form of taxation, as the existing fees (£215) fully meet the cost of the Probate service. It’s a largely administrative function, for which fees up to £20,000 are quite disproportionate, but it’s a vital one as without it executors cannot obtain the grant of probate to enable them to administer a deceased person’s estate.
“Estates would be unfairly affected as they would pay Inheritance tax on the fees as well, which are not deductible from the value of the estate when calculating tax payable. Individual beneficiaries, who are asset-rich but cash-poor, would be badly affected by the need to raise such considerable sums to obtain probate. Many will have no alternative but to go to the expense of a bank loan to pay the fee. Unless the house is being sold, it then leaves a problem as to how the loan is repaid.
“Older people will feel the need, or be pressurised by families, to give away assets in their lifetime, to avoid these high charges. There may be ways of doing this effectively, without prejudicing the security of the persons living in the property, by using a trust, but many will not follow such safe avenues.
“The risk is of many older people living in houses now owned by children who don’t always act in the best interests of their parents. Will the new “owners” enable the parent to move to a suitable smaller property, or indeed stay at home if they still wish to when others feel they should move? It’s risky giving up personal control. Some children will get divorced or end up in financial difficulties and find the home is put unnecessarily at risk in court proceedings.
“Rural families with small farms could be badly affected as the relatively high value of farmland often goes with limited income. Even if a working farm benefited from 100% Agricultural Property Relief for Inheritance Tax, so that no actual tax was payable, this back door tax would still have to be found.”
Brexit will potentially have a huge impact on the people who work in the UK’s financial services industries. Many banks, insurers and fund managers who have large businesses in continental Europe could consider relocating to Paris or Frankfurt, and senior staff will either lose their roles or have to move to another country. Some global investment banks, such as JPMorgan, have said that Brexit would lead to a significant loss of jobs in the UK.
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