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March 12, 2017

How to Choose a Mortgage Advisor?

The mortgage market is incredibly competitive and it can be hard to understand exactly what is on offer. With so many different providers and a huge range of products and rates available, it is a good idea to talk to your bank in addition to a independent mortgage advisor before deciding what mortgage to go for.mortgage-2114044_960_720

Lenders and brokers must offer fair advice when they recommend a mortgage for you. They will assess the level of mortgage repayments you can afford by looking at your income as well as your debt repayments and day to day spending, meaning you will find a mortgage to suit your needs.

Although all lenders and brokers must offer this advice, you might be able to reject the information given and find your own mortgage based deal with your own research. If you choose your own mortgage without advice it’s called an “execution-only” application.

By getting advice, rather than relying on your own research, it means you have more rights to complain if the mortgage turns out to be unsuitable. For example, if the advice you were given turned out to be unsuitable, you could make a complaint of financial mis-selling. Not taking any advice from the lenders means you have to take full responsibility for your mortgage decision.

Without lender’s advice you could end up:

With the wrong mortgage for your situation, which would be a costly mistake in the long run.

Being rejected by your chosen lender, because you didn’t understand the restrictions clearly or what circumstances the mortgage was designed for.

Once you have spoken your bank or building society, you should see a mortgage advisor who is a specialist with an in-depth knowledge of the market. They should be able to look at the range of mortgage products to suit your needs.

Other benefits of using an advisor:

  • An advisor will also be able to take all the costs and features of mortgages into account, beyond interest rates.
  • They may have exclusive deals with lenders, not otherwise available.
  • They will check your finances to make sure you can afford a mortgage.
  • They should only recommend a mortgage that is suitable for you and will tell you which one you’re likely to get.
  • They often complete the paperwork for you, so your application should be dealt with faster.

To speak to one of Bespoke Support Network’s mortgage advisor, call 01376 386850

March 10, 2017

Protect Your Business Today

men-1979261__340If you’re a business owner then you will be well aware that it is vital to protect the firm that you have dedicated your life to building. It is important to remember that when you move away from a PAYE environment you lose the benefits that come with it, “such as death in service, sick pay or private health care. This could end up not only condemning your company in the event of death/illness but your loved ones too.

Bespoke Support Network are pleased to inform you that we are working in association with a group of highly qualified financial advisors who can ensure that you and your business are protected.

When you create a plan to safeguard your business there are many things you need to consider, as follows:

* Does your business have any liabilities such as loans or credit cards?

* How much are you worth to the business? Is it worth considering a partnership in case of the event of your death?

* If you had to take a long period of time off work due to illness, have you made the correct provisions for another member of the team? Are they able to fill your role for the time being?

* Would it be practical for your family to deal with your company’s financial affairs if you were to pass away?

Following recent changes to group life legislation, a plan targeted at single lives and small companies has been introduced. Whereas before you were unable to have a one-man scheme you can now cover a single director up to 15 times their remuneration, using the ‘relevant life policy.’

Many business owners already have a form of protection in place, however it is recommended that you have this reviewed on an annual basis. By doing so you can ensure that the cover matches the requirements of your business. By not revising your current policy you could be in danger or having the plan too low or high of what the business is currently worth.

Here at Bespoke Support Network we offer you a personalised service, helping you remain fully protected as both an individual and business moving forward. If you would like to arrange a consultation to discuss how our services could help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us today for more information.

March 8, 2017

Quarter of People Retiring Will Have Unpaid Debts in 2017

According to a recent report by the Financial Conduct Authority a quarter of people planning to retire in 2017 will have unpaid debts, usually totaling around £24,000.

Insurance company Prudential found that the proportion of retirees expected to be in debt had grown to 44% in London. This is the highest recorded level of debt in seven years.

Before completing the research into the high debt crisis, the Financial Conduct Authority conducted a study, which forecasted 2017-18 to be a peak period, where interest-only mortgages would mature in large volumes.

Following a warning from the FCA, feshutterstock_249974521ars around the need to pay mortgages payments beyond retirement have grown. Nearly 50% of those with interest-only home loans may be unable to afford to pay them off once they start to mature.

Commenting on its recent research, the Prudential stated that being burdened with debt in your retirement had become a growing problem once more. They highlighted that the figure had grown by 20% from 2016.

On average, those planning to retire during 2017 will owe £24,300 in debt. This is according to the Prudential’s yearly report into the financial aims of retirees, which also showed that the figure had grown by £5,500 since 2016. This was the first rise in retiree debt for 5 years; in 2012 there was a peak of £32,200.

For those retiring in year ahead, mortgages are likely to be the biggest source of debt, with 38% owing money on a property. 51% of people planning to retire also owe money on credit cards.

Bank of England governor, Mark Carney stated that the bank had observed a rise in debt levels; largely stemming from unsecured debt, the figure was rising at its quickest rate in 11 years.

To pay off the owed amount, an average of three-and-a-half years would be required according to the Prudential. This would be at around £230 per month.

Are you looking to pay off your debts before retirement? Bespoke Support Network offer a free financial advisory to provide advice to businesses and individuals alike, with everything from financial planning to wills and probate. For more information and help with your business needs, call us today.

March 6, 2017

Bespoke Support Network’s Will in Essex

Here at Bespoke Support Network, we understand that writing a will is important and without it your family could be in danger of losing your estate. Yet it’s all too easy to put it off for another day as writing your will is thought of as being a long and complex process.
That’s why our experienced team at Bespoke Support Network takes the hassle out of writing your will.
Our team of experts will take the time to understand your situation so we can produce a will that meets your needs now, and in the future.
The services we provide:
  • Preparation of Wills
  • Inheritance tax planning
  • Preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Administration of Estates
  • Courts of Protection applications
  • Equity Release
  • Long term care planning
  • Trusts
We can assist with reducing or perhaps even eliminating your liability for inheritance tax and we can advise on the best way to retain your wealth with the use of trusts and careful tax planning.
Our Bespoke Support Network team offers a free will advice and free consultancy service for drafting wills, meaning our clients can walk away at any pointhome-office-599475__340 if they aren’t satisfied with our standard of service.
We will find the perfect, qualified will solicitor for you, who will be able to prepare a will for you and your needs. Our expert team will also available to come and speak to you whether at home or in hospital.
We will walk you through the tough choices you will need to make in your will such as:
  • Who will be administrating your estate
  • Who will benefit from your estate
  • How much financial provision to make for your beneficiaries
  • Who will care for your young children
  • What age your young beneficiaries will inherit.
  • Setting up a trust that provides for a vulnerable child or dependent.
  • Who gets possessions with sentimental value and family heirlooms
  • What you would like to leave to charity.
Are you living and working in Essex, and in need of will? For more information about Bespoke Support Network’s wills and probate services, call us today.

 

March 1, 2017

The Importance of Reviewing Your Final Salary Pension

What with the increase of news coverage concerning subjects such as Brexit, falling interest rates and Trump, it comes as no surprise that many are feeling anxious about the safety of their final salary pension.  How does this effect your final salary scheme?

In its simplest form, a final salary pension is a written promise upon a piece of paper. Each scheme has a loose algorithm that is made up of information concerning where you have worked, how long for and your salary in these roles to calculate a projection of what your pension income in retirement will be. Without a doubt you will already be aware that the pension schemes being offered are terribly underfunded and that the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) may need to be used for many of these.

You might even have seen a recent TV programme named ‘dispatches’, which was shown on channel 4 showcasing the issues that have arisen over the last couple of years.  The programme in question featured a pensioner who was victim to a pension scandal due to the industry being squeezed by rising costs and slashed budgets!

However it isn’t all doom and gloom; in finalsalarypension-1885540__340fact if you currently hold a final salary scheme it’s the complete opposite. The scheme providers want to dispose of the risk that they currently hold, especially in the cases of those who are yet to take their pension benefits. Due to this they are offering an enhanced transfer value, which can be placed into a personal pension to diminish the risk involved for them as a business. This offer isn’t something to dwell on though as, as with anything, there is always a risk of the market conditions altering. This could change the value of your transfer, as it isn’t ‘invested’ by the ceding scheme providers.

We understand the need to be happy with your final salary scheme, however it’s important to understand its’ ‘true value’ and flexibility due to the market constantly changing.

Here at Bespoke Support Network we continue to offer you a personalised service, which will always ensure you are aware of any market changes that could affect you. It has never been more important to get your final salary pension reviewed than now. For more information or to get in contact with one of our advisors please contact us today.

February 28, 2017

Should I Choose a Lifetime ISA?

On 16th March 2016 George Osbourne created the lifetime ISA. This new arrangement is aimed at anyone from the age of 18 to 40 and offers appealing benefits from anyone looking to buy their first home all the way to to saving for a retirement. In this short guide we are going to provide basic current information about a lifetime ISA.

Who can use this ISA?

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 will be eligible to open a lifetime ISA as of from April 2017. Even though you are under the age of 50 you can choose to contribute up to £4,000 a year and will receive an additional 25% government bonus. So for every £4 contributed the government will add a further £1. (up to a maximum of £1,000 a year)

lifetimeISA-18134__340Who would be best suited for the lifetime ISA?

This ISA is best suited to people either saving for their first home or saving for their retirement.

If you are using the ISA to save for your first home, you can use the funds in the ISA (as well as the government bonus) to buy a home in the UK of up to £450,000. In order to qualify for the government’s bonus you will need to have had the lifetime ISA for at least 12 months.

This is perfect for anyone who is looking to buy his or her first property after 6th of April 2018. If you were hoping to buy with a partner both individuals (under the age of 40) would be able to open a lifetime ISA meaning you can both benefit from the bonuses involved if the property is bought together.

If on the other hand you are saving for retirement you could also benefit from a lifetime ISA. You can make withdrawals partial or full, after the age of 60 with no penalty. All the money withdrawn is tax-free too. If you wish too you can also save in other accounts such as pensions too.

What happens if I already have a help to buy ISA?

If you are already using a help to buy ISA you can transfer across to a lifetime ISA. From 5th April 2017, you will be able to value your current ISA and transfer the value over to your new lifetime ISA. The amount transferred won’t count towards the £4000 allowance and you will still qualify for the government bonus. This offer will apply till 5th April 2018 and only one transfer can be made.

If you have any queries about starting a lifetime ISA and want to know some more information, our financial advisors at Bespoke Support Network will be happy to help. It’s vital to choose the correct ISA for you and the most efficient tax vehicle for your savings. Call us today for free advice and we will help to point you in the right direction.

 

February 26, 2017

How to Avoid Sideways Disinheritance

When couples decide to make a will they often think that it’s best to keep things as straightforward as possible. More often than not they leave everything to their spouse or partner in the event that they pass. This is usually so that their partner can continue to live in the same house and have access to all their finances.

Typically a couple consider everything to be jointly owned even if something technically belongs to only one of them. As such, the wills in question probably state that whoever dies last would leave all their assets and estate to their children in equal shares. This sounds sensible and straightforward, don’t you agree?

Sideways DisinheritanceMost of the time it can be this simple, however this isn’t always the case. People don’t tend to consider the possibility that after the first person has died, the other partner could decide to alter their will. They could decide to leave their assets and estate to someone other than the children. This is particularly well known when there is a new spouse or partner.

Sometimes it can be an accident. When the surviving partner decides to remarry, the old will is automatically cancelled and the partner may not consider this. Following this, with no valid will in place, if the partner was to pass away the new spouse would be entitled to everything under the rules of intestacy.

This is called the ‘sideways disinheritance trap’. Meaning the estate moves sideways to the new partner rather than down in generation to the children. What started out as a simple option to protect your partner and spouse has now become the reason they are left with nothing.

However there are ways to prevent this from happening, which is where our services here at Bespoke Support Network could help. The first option is simple, protect your children by making sure you update your will when you remarry. This may sound like an easy fix but it can be scary how many people forget.

Another option would be to include a life interest trust in your will. This means that when you die all your assets will be automatically placed into a trust instead of going directly to your spouse or partner. The life interest trust can be managed by appointed trustees and will ring-fence your assets and name your ‘life tenant’. A life tenant will be allowed to live in your property and gain any income generated by your ring-fenced assets for the rest of their lifetime, or if you wish, until they remarry.

You could also make mirror wills. These are identical wills that ‘mirror’ each other so regardless of who passes away first, your wishes and intentions stay the same.

To discuss mirror wills or a life interest trust call Bespoke Support Network today. We have experts at hand who can support you with any advice you may need. Get in touch today for total peace of mind.

February 24, 2017

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Will?

People are often put off creating a will by the cost and time spent writing one. In this blog, Bespoke Support Network will look at different options and costs available to you, including making a will online, a DIY will and using a professional will writing company or solicitor.

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DIY Write Your Own Will

Writing your own will is ill advised as often incorrect wills will be deemed invalid and leave your family with a financial mess. However, if your affairs are particularly straightforward you can risk writing your own will (but be prepared if it is invalid). Your DIY will, requires you to follow the instructions given very carefully.

There are a variety of DIY will kits available online and in stores from retailers like Amazon & WHSmith, as well as online templates you can use. These will kits and templates cost between £9.99 and £14.99.

DIY Wills are not suitable if:

  • Someone who is unable to care for themselves is financially dependent on you.
  • Your wish to pass your assets is very specific.
  • You have children from a previous marriage.
  • You have young children, who will need a Guardian and Child Trust.
  • You have property overseas.
  • You own a business.
  • You want to reduce or avoid inheritance tax.

Professional Will Writer

In recent years, the most common option for people looking to write a will is to have it created by a specialist will writer. A professional will writer offer’s a personal service, being able to visit you at your home to plan the details of your will.

When it comes to making your will you ideally only want to do it once, especially as having it professionally written can cost you up to £100. However, by having it professionally drafted and written, you can ensure that you avoid any costly mistakes for your family and future generations.

Solicitor Written Wills

Family solicitors tend to deal with a range of client issues, from divorce to employment law, but not all of them are professionally qualified in wills and trusts. Make sure you choose a solicitor who specialises in these areas i.e. will writing.

In terms of cost, a solicitor can cost you up to £250 to draft and write your will. While it may seem expensive, using a qualified solicitor prevents there being any mistakes in your will, meaning your family can adhere to your wishes as you wanted them.

Bespoke Support Network aims to provide advice to businesses and individuals alike, everything from financial planning to wills and probate. For more information and help with your business needs, call us today.

February 22, 2017

A Guide to Updating Your Will

It’s scary how many people write a will, forgetting that every time something significant happens in their lives it is important to update it. There are many times in your life where this is required. It can be a common mistake to make, but an important one all the same. You may think it seems like an annoyance, or a task that you simply don’t have time or the money to do, but it can save a lot of heart ache and problems for your loved ones in the future.

Reasons to Update Your will

  • Marriage and divorce
  • Birth or adopting a child
  • Death of family members or beneficiaries
  • Your chosen executor can no longer serve or has possibly passed away
  • Your children are no longer minors and can deal with financial matters
  • Considerable Changes to your estate and assets

How do I update my will?

 updateyourwill-428331_960_720When it comes to updating your will, there are two ways of doing so; First, you could prepare a new will, signing it to revoke the earlier made will. Or you could write a codicil to the already existing will. This is a separate document that can add provisions to the will you have already written. It simply needs to be witnessed and signed just as your will was, to make it valid.

You can change anything in your will using a codicil, from a single word to several sections. But a codicil is often best used for smaller changes, as they can cause complications in the event of your death. Sometimes if you need to change several things in your will it is better to rewrite your existing will, especially as sometimes codicils can sometimes manage to get lost.

If you are going to rewrite your will, there are a couple of things to look out for. Ensure that you’re revoking any old wills and codicils. As well as this, you need to make sure you destroy any copies of your old will and tell your executor where your new will can be easily accessed for when the time comes.

Bespoke Support Network aims to provide advice to businesses and individuals alike, everything from financial planning to wills and probate. For more information and help with your business needs, call us today.

 

February 20, 2017

Bespoke Support Network’s Guide to Appointing an Executor

There are lots of things to think about and consider when writing a will. All these important decisions will affect your loved ones, so they need to be thought about and discussed so you are happy with the choices you have made. Therefore, one of the biggest choices you will need to make is choosing an executor.

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What is an executor and what does it involve?

Your executor is the person in your life you want to make responsible for handling the affairs after your death.  The role involves a lot of work, so it’s important to choose carefully. Some of this work, will include;

  • Gathering all assets
  • Dealing with any paperwork related to your estate
  • Making sure any debts are paid out of the money in your estate
  • Distributing the remainders of your estate to the allocated people in your will
  • Holding any assets or money if a beneficiary is under the age of 18, at the time of the death.

How to pick your executor

As you can see it’s important to pick and choose your executor correctly as this can be a huge responsibility, especially if the person isn’t used to carrying out official and financial issues. It’s recommended that you approach the person you wish to be your executor before going ahead, just to ensure that are okay to undertake this big responsibility.

Some advice on choosing wisely:

  • Normally its always better to have two executors rather than one. It just provides a safety net, or ‘back up’ in case your chosen executor passes away or was otherwise injured at the time of your death. Sometimes people appoint up to four executors.
  • Make sure the person you are appointing is willing and able to hand the tasks involved. Such as legal, financial and administrative issues.
  • If you are married or in a civil partnership, it is usually the case that your spouse or partner will be one of your executors
  • If you have children that are over the age of 18, it’s possible for them to be joint executors.
  • In a case where your children are under the age of 18, its advised that you choose a professional, for instance your accountant, as one of your executors.
  • If your need to appoint a guardian for any young children, it is often advised that you consider making this person one of your executors as well.

As you can see it’s a lot to think about, and this is only one of the big choices you must make. It can all seem very overwhelming at first but at Bespoke Support Network we are here to help. We understand the issues involved and as professionals we know the importance of any decisions made. If you need any advice or guidance contact us today.