What’s happening out there in international financial markets?  Wan't to know more about  pensions, investments and taxes? How could changes in legislation affect you and your finances?  Keep up to date with my financial advice based blog.

Should you consider using a Spousal Bypass Trust for your pension?

The death benefits of a pension fund can in most cases be passed to loved ones, via an “expression of wishes” form. Under the flexi access pension rules, funds passed to a spouse will pass tax- free (note that income tax is payable at the beneficiaries marginal rate after age 75). However if you leave the pension fund to your spouse, this means that when they die, those funds will form part of your partner’s estate on their death and would then be subject to inheritance tax.  Spousal Bypass trusts can help to mitigate this and play a useful role in IHT planning.

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Lasting Power of Attorney

Often at some stage in life loved ones may become unable to look after their own affairs, and they will generally want those closest to them to look after their affairs on their behalf.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets the person who wants their affairs looked after (the ‘donor’) appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf should they become unable to make their own. The person appointed to look after the donor’s affairs are known as the Attorney.

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Evidence based and factor based investing

Most investing can be considered, either: emotional, reactionary or noise-driven. Investors often hunger for an inside scoop on what the market will do based on an event, be it a real event or imagined. However one of the keys to investment success is, quite simply, to avoid the noise. The constant drumbeat of extraneous information and actions based upon this noise is considered behavioral. Evidence-based investing is essentially the opposite of behavioral investing.

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What is a QROPS?

A QROPS is a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. For an overseas scheme to be deemed as such, it must satisfy criteria stipulated by HMRC. Such as being available to residents in that country and not being accessible before age 55, unless under special circumstances. It was devised for those who live overseas as an expatriate or those who are planning to leave the UK. It’s a scheme that makes it possible to transfer your existing pension plans in order for you to potentially benefit from increased investment growth, flexibility in access to your funds and financial security. The Finance Act 2004 made it possible from April 2006, for UK pensions to be transferred to any overseas pension scheme which is registered with HMRC as a QROPS. HMRC publishes a list of recognised QROPS online. they can be found here:

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Pension transfers FAQ -  Frequently asked questions

What is a pension transfer?

A pension transfer is the process of transferring – ie switching or changing the contributons made from one pension scheme to another. Or by exhanging your future annual pesnion from a final salary scheme for a transfer value. Doing this ends your membership of the original pension scheme. Most schemes will allow you to transfer your pension pot to another pension scheme. This can either be an employer’s workplace pension scheme, a personal pension scheme, a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) or a QROPS.

Understanding whether you will benefit from a pension transfer can be complicated and you should take appropriate advice

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