2017 – A year in review

2017 has been a year of change within the Estate Planning industry. Updates in legislation have meant major changes to the options available to clients. We have kept ahead of the changes for clients and your business, so that best advice can continue to be given whilst ensuring that the advice is understandable to the client.

RNRB

April 2017 saw the introduction of the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB). The assumption throughout the industry and widely reported in the media was that Discretionary Trusts would not be suitable and that the RNRB would be lost.

However, this is not necessarily the case. Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd confirmed (in line with Counsel opinion) that beneficiaries of certain modified Discretionary Trusts will still be able to claim the RNRB.

Introducing the Flexible Family Trust (*or NRB and RNRB Discretionary Trust within the Will)

Countrywide have developed a modified Discretionary Trust where the RNRB can still be claimed without the Trustees having to resort to complex planning after death.

Not only did we create a unique modified discretionary pilot Trust, we also developed the Countrywide Legacy Software so if you are using our trusts within the Will instead of pilot trusts, then our NRB and RNRB Discretionary Trust within the Will has the same technical advantages as the Flexible Family Trust.

So what’s the solution for those clients whose planning was put in place prior to April this year?

If your clients have a taxable estate on death we would recommend that your clients consider changing their Wills and Trusts to ensure the RNRB allowance can be claimed on death.

We provided our members with a template letter identifying the various options available to clients. This created further opportunities for our advisors and ensures best advice to clients.

Asset Protection Trusts (PPPT and Probate Trusts) and the RNRB.

A hot topic in June 2017.  Our Supermen Webinar discussed in detail “Asset Protection Trusts” (PPPT for CTTC Ltd) and their place in Estate Planning following the introduction of the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB). We explored how the introduction of the RNRB affected those Asset Protection Trusts (PPPTs) already in place, those being considered and whether they should continue to be considered.

Ideally advisors want to offer an Asset Protection Trust (PPPT) to their clients that not only provide protection during the client’s lifetime but also allows for the RNRB to be obtained on death.

So what was the solution?

The CTTC “Deed of Magic” provided the perfect solution to these common issues including:

  • Protection against the CLT limit being breached
  • With growth of the property value, periodic and exit charges are mitigated by the Trust if the value in the Trust grows above the NRB
  • IHT will not be payable on first death for a married couple where property values are above £650,000.

Countrywide Legacy Software

The Countrywide Legacy Software has seen significant development in 2017. Celebrating 120,000 clients’ instructions through the software.

Our intelligent software has reduced our processing costs and improved client satisfaction. Out of the 1,430 orders processed in one week we have received one solitary correction.

NEWS FLASH – Week ending 8th December 1529 documents were produced with NO Corrections.

With the Countrywide Legacy Software you can…

Enter instructions directly into the Software with your client, on either a PC, laptop or tablet. This means no more bits of paper, incorrect spellings or illegible handwriting to compete with.

Intelligent and interactive questions – Countrywide Legacy populates the appropriate questions according to your client’s circumstances, ensuring all relevant areas are addressed and nothing is missed. The software will even tell you if the ordered product is not correct for the client or may create a tax event.

Avoids incomplete orders – You can’t proceed with the order unless all necessary fields are answered. This means you have all the required information at the outset and no need to chase missing information.

Re-use key information – once you’ve entered a client in once, you never need to enter duplicate instructions. Countrywide Legacy intelligently remembers, and allows you to re-use client information across all your documents, at ease.

Converts case type automatically – You don’t need to be a touch typing expert to enter instructions efficiently. Regardless of whether you type in lowercase or uppercase, our Software instinctively adjusts the relevant text to the correct letter case.

Personalised Order Summaries – Our Order Summaries provides your client with a personalised breakdown of their order, which can be emailed to check and confirm. So no more drafts, so no more postage and so much time saved. Additionally, no complex clauses and questions at this early stage from your clients.

We have also continued to update our product range. Products added this year include: 

  • Deeds of Variation
  • Trusts of Land
  • Cross Option Agreements
  • Shareholder Agreements

It’s so simple we have seen a reduction in the number of orders for simple Wills and LPA’s as an increasing number of advisors use the Legacy software draft their own documents.

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of complex documents and products submitted to CTTC for drafting.

Looking forward to 2018

The New Year promises to be a busy one at CTTC.

We will continue to work on the development of our cutting edge Estate Planning strategies and the Countrywide Legacy Software.

The first quarter of 2018 will see the launch of the following packages:

Point of Sale Package

The Point of Sale package will produce everything from the receipt, terms of business, cancellation forms and even a Client Disclaimer.

Our personalised Client Disclaimer makes certain that you are covered should your clients decide not to follow “best advice” and is generated by the Software with every client Instruction.

The client will be able to electronically tick the relevant boxes to confirm their agreement of the relevant clauses in the terms of business etc and proceed to sign them on screen.

These will be automatically emailed the Point of sale documents direct to the client and send you a copy for your own records.

This makes the sale a stress, free paperless process.

Estate Planning Report Package

This package will produce the Financial Summary, Estate Planning Recommendations and Full Estate Planning Report at the touch of a button.

It also includes a search facility to target market clients, allowing you to export your clients with specific products or criteria.

Once launched we hope to further improve the way that you our Software can develop and improve your business, saving you time and money. A complete solution specific to your requirements.

Increased Product Range

With more products being added to the software on a daily basis you will be able to order more complex documents than ever before with ease.

Probate Package

Our software is being developed to complete the relevant Probate Forms for you. In addition, the Software Package will also draft the valuation letters, inform your clients of progress each week and construct the Terms of Business for Probate Cases. The Terms of Business will include all the assets owned by the client.

Parliamentary Review

CTTC have been recognised as a leading figure in the legal industry and have been invited to appear in the next Law & Justice edition of the Parliamentary Review. 

The Parliamentary Review is a series of independent publications, which aims to share best practice among policy makers and business leaders.

Our feature in the Law and Justice edition, which will be headed up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and consists of a review of the year in law with a number of contributing articles from leading experts within the legal profession.

The Parliamentary Review will be sent out to tens of thousands leading policy makers.

If you are already a partner with us or work in association with us, this review could provide invaluable when seeing new clients, clearly showing our expertise in the area of estate planning.

Asset Protection Trusts (PPPT / Property Probate Trust) pre April 2017

During 2018 we will be bringing existing clients with this planning up to date with current legislation. Our members will be kept informed and provided with assistance and help to ensure their clients can obtain all possible Tax reliefs in the future.

If you have clients in this situation we can assist you to bring them in line with the recent changes.

Willmaker Direct Software

Our team of experts are developing the Willmaker Direct Software so that users of the software so that in the future in addition to producing a Will the software will transfer information from the Will and generate a Life Assurance Trust and the Deed of Assignment as required.

Training & Webinars

We continually review and update our Training programs and monthly webinars.

This year will see the introduction of Guest Presenters on a selection of our webinars. We have carefully chosen and invited specialist industry leaders to feature and discuss specific topics to further develop and enhance your knowledge.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you haven’t yet heard of the GDPR, then by 25 May 2018 you certainly will have.

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and is being introduced to address concerns over data protection in the digital age.

The price for failing to be GDPR-compliant is high – with hefty fines for those who fail to meet the new standards. The maximum penalty for breaching GDPR is €20m or 4% of a business’s global revenue, whichever is greater.

CTTC are already preparing to ensure we’re taking steps to ensure we are compliant and implementing changes as required by the new regulation.  We are working with a Company who are experts in both the Legal Industry and the new GDPR to undertake this on our behalf. This will be implemented as required and our members will be notified of any changes in early part of next year.

Increase in Probates Fees?

If 2018 sees the introduction of the increase in Probate fees previously promised will your Trust/s be able to accommodate this?

Conclusion

We look forward to continuing working with existing businesses in 2018 and providing a cost effective business solution for new Partners. Maximise efficiency and reduce costs whilst still providing best advice and bespoke documents for your clients.

This article was submitted to be published by Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd. as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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