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Inheritance Planning Tips for your Eco-Friendly Property

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If you’ve invested in an eco-friendly property, you’ll want to make sure that it goes to the right people after your days. In this article, we’ll share our tips for inheritance planning for your sustainable home.

A great many of us are committed to doing our bit for the environment, this often means having made changes to our homes to make them more efficient and sustainable to run. Making these changes can be costly and often takes a couple of years to see your return on money.

One of the ways that you can help the planet is by living in an eco-friendly home. Some research shows that you can lower your energy bills up to 30% a year by having a green home. Of course, you will also help the planet at the same time.

For these reasons, eco-adjusted homes are often left to family members beyond a person’s life just so they can also see the benefits of the changes made. They might want to invest in eco-friendly features to make their home greener. But does this involve a huge cost?

Some seek inheritance tax planning advice before setting out wishes involving their property officially, such as in a Will. There are some steps to take before making it official however, here are some useful inheritance planning tips for your property…

What is an Eco-Friendly Property?

An eco-friendly home is one which has either been built with sustainability in mind or has had eco-friendly features fitted such as solar panels, water saving features and other energy saving devices. These properties help to protect our planet’s resources whilst also saving us money.

Inheritance Planning Tips

We all work hard for the things that we have and, as such, it’s important to ensure that all of our assets, including eco-friendly properties, go to the right people after we die.

In this section, we’ll take you through some tips for inheritance planning for your eco-friendly property to make sure that your wishes and intentions are carried out after your days.

Write a Will and Testament

A Will is a document which details who should get what when you die. It’s incredibly important that you make a Will and have a copy of this held with a solicitor as, without a Will, your loved ones may find themselves going through a lengthy and stressful probate process.

Without a Will, your assets will usually be shared between your spouse and any children (not to include step-children) even if those children have not been part of your life. If you do not have any living family, your assets will become the property of the Crown.

Be Aware of Inheritance Tax

If your combined assets are valued at over £325,000, your spouse, children or other beneficiaries will be subject to inheritance tax. This is worked out as follows:

  • Below the threshold of £325,000, your beneficiaries should not have to pay inheritance tax
  • If your assets are valued above £325,000, inheritance tax on anything above that value will be payable at a rate of 40%.

While these are the general rules, there are a few things that you can do to minimize the amount of inheritance tax to be paid such as:

  • Spending your money while you are alive to stay close to the threshold
  • Investing in stocks and shares which are exempt from inheritance tax (a good financial advisor will be able to help you to navigate this).

Inheritance tax will usually be handled by a probate solicitor after your death and is generally automatically deducted before your estate is distributed as per the instructions in your will.

Dividing Your Property Fairly

If you own a property with a spouse and you are both named on the deeds, your spouse will automatically inherit the property, If, however, you do not have a spouse, you can leave this to one or more people in your will – i.e. to be shared between two or more of your children.

In this case, the property will usually be sold so that the beneficiaries may share the proceeds. As with all other assets, you need to state clearly in your Will what who gets what proportion of the property, as this can help to avoid arguments and possible legal action.

Requesting the Upkeep of Your Eco Home

If you have spent time, effort and money on ensuring that your property is more sustainable than before, there’s a good chance that you will want it to stay that way. In this case, you will want to think carefully about who should inherit the property when you die.

If you are leaving the property to your children, you might want to add a codicil to your Will stating that the eco-friendly features of your property must be maintained and added to as technology advances.

If you do not have a spouse or living children, you may want to think about leaving your eco-friendly property to an environmental charity who may be able to use it to carry out good causes.

Plan ahead with your property and assets…

Whatever kind of assets you are leaving in your will, it’s always a good idea to speak to your beneficiaries while you are alive as this will give you a chance to explain your decisions as well as making sure that your intentions are clear.

Inheritance planning is something which most of us tend to put off as it’s never pleasant to think about our demise. However, by comprehensively planning as early as possible, you can ensure that your intended beneficiaries will be able to make the most of their inheritance and that your wishes in regard to your hard-earned assets will be carried out to the letter.

If you find the idea of inheritance planning a little daunting – and many do – a good solicitor will be able to help you to put a will together and to make sense of the legal jargon and all of the rules and regulations involved in the complex world of inheritance tax.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on inheritance tax and Will writing. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Have some inspiration about going green in all aspect of life. Views are my own.

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