Planning for Retirement

It is never too early to start planning for your retirement. Often, the earlier that you plan for your retirement, the more likely it is that you will be able to have the retirement that you wish for.

We can help with:

  • Minimising inheritance tax
  • Pensions
  • Age-related employment issues
  • Making sure that others can make decisions on your behalf if you are later unable to do so
  • Contact with grandchildren

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether or not you pay inheritance tax will depend on your circumstances at your death.

For example if you are leaving assets to your spouse on your death, then those assets will be free of inheritance tax. If your spouse has died and left their estate to you then you also have your spouse’s tax free allowances available to you on your death as well as your own, increasing the amount that you can leave before tax is payable.

Additional exemptions have been introduced since 2015 which mean that if you are leaving your family home to your children on your death, there are additional tax thresholds available. We would therefore recommend that before you consider whether you wish to make any gifts to avoid tax, you review with us whether your estate would have to pay inheritance tax in the event of your death.

If tax is likely to be payable it may be that giving away assets would reduce your inheritance tax bill, however there are a number of conditions that would need to be met.

Firstly you would need to live for seven years after making the gift, otherwise you would still be treated as if you owned it for tax purposes.

Secondly if you make a gift you must genuinely give it away, if you still use it HMRC will consider that you still own it for inheritance tax purposes. For example if you give a house to your children but still live in it, holiday in it or receive the rent this would not avoid inheritance tax.

We would recommend that before making a gift you consider what would happen if your beneficiary were to divorce, die or get into financial difficulties, would this leave you in a vulnerable position?

Unfortunately it is sometimes the case that a person makes a gift in their lifetime to avoid tax but the gift means that exemptions otherwise available to the estate are lost and the estate pays more tax as a result. We would therefore recommend that you seek tax planning advice before gifting any assets.
The short answer is no. Employers used to be able to force their employees to retire once they reached the age of 65, but the law was changed in April 2011 so that this is no longer possible.

So I can carry on working for as long as I want?

There are still certain circumstances where your employer can force you to retire at a certain age, but they must have a good reason for doing so and certain conditions are met, but this is usually very difficult for them to prove. For example, if your job requires you to be physically or mentally fit then your employer could potentially look to terminate your employment if your age was impacting on this. But if they did it is likely that you would have potential claims for age discrimination and unfair dismissal so most employers tend to steer clear of dismissing staff on this basis.

You can still be dismissed for other reasons such as redundancy or misconduct, provided that this is not related to your age.

Can my employer ask me about my retirement plans?

Your employer should not normally ask you when you are planning to retire or try and put any pressure on you to retire before you are ready. If they do, or you feel that you are being treated differently because of your age then this is likely to be age discrimination.

Retirement is your choice, not your employers

You can choose to retire whenever you wish and can simply give notice to your employer that you wish to terminate your employment in the same way that you would if you wanted to leave to start a new job.

Some employees prefer to enter retirement gradually, for example by starting to work part time rather than full time. This is possible, subject to your employer’s agreement. The usual process would be to submit a flexible working request, which anyone can do, for any reason, not just because of caring responsibilities as used to be the case.
There is no automatic right for a grandparent to see their grandchild if their parent stops them from seeing them. If matters cannot be resolved informally (possibly with the assistance of a lawyer), you may need to make a court application so that the court can determine whether your grandchild can spend time with you.

Unlike parents, grandparents do not automatically have the right to have their application considered by the court. As such, they need to apply for “leave” i.e. permission to make the application.

The court will take the following factors into account when determining whether or not to grant leave:
a) The type of application (whether it is an application for the grandchild to live with you, to spend time with you, or an application for the court to prevent something happening in relation to the child or to decide a specific issue about the child)
b) Your connection with the child;
c) Any risk that the application may disrupt the child’s life to such an extent that it would cause harm

If permission is granted to make the application, the court will then make a decision that it is the child’s best interests, and takes the following into account:
a) the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of the child’s age and understanding);
b) the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
c) the likely effect on the child of any change in his circumstances;
d) the child’s age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
e) any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
f) how capable each of the child’s parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs;
g) the range of powers available to the court.

In our experience, most grandparents are prevented from spending time with their grandchild because their child (i.e the child’s parent) has also been prevented from spending time with their own child. It is common for the court application to be made by the child’s parent, with the intention that the grandparents can then spend time with the grandchild during the parent’s own time with the child. Where that is not possible, we assist grandparents in re-establishing quality time with their grandchild.
The best thing that you can do in order to ensure your wishes are followed with regards to your care is to put a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare in place.

So long as you can make your own decisions regarding care, then your wishes would be followed as far as possible. However in the event that you were not able to make your own decisions, for example if you were suffering from dementia, then a Lasting Power of Attorney for health allows you to choose who would have the legal authority to speak on your behalf. Your Attorney can speak for you if you are unable to do so yourself, and insist that your wishes are followed. If you do not have anyone appointed as your Attorney, professionals such as social services or medical personnel may step in and make decisions for you.

Having a Lasting Power of Attorney is particularly important if you think your relatives may disagree when making decisions for you, as it allows you to choose who can speak for you and avoid a dispute amongst the family.

You should also appoint an Attorney to make decisions regarding your property and finances, to manage your assets on your behalf. This can be the same person as your Attorney for health, although it doesn’t have to be. Your Attorney for finances would be able to deal with your finances for you if you were unable to do so, and so ensure that your care can be paid for.
A sworn translation is a certified official translation of any document. The sworn official translation holds the same validity held by the original document in the country in which it was issued.

Sworn Translators appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation are the only translators who can produce official translations which will be recognised and accepted by any country.

The applicant must always check with the relevant authorities in Spain the documents to be submitted. In general, the official translations into Spanish of the S1 form (healthcare form) in English and of the UK pension documents must be submitted when applying for Spanish residency. If the applicants are married, the official translation into Spanish of the marriage certificate in English may need to be submitted as well. The marriage certificate must be apostilled (legalised) by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney. The first type relates to your property and finances and allows you to choose who you would like to manage these for you if you need assistance for any reason. This may be because you are going abroad for a set period, or more usually so your affairs can be taken care of for you if you are unable to do so yourself for example through illness or accident. This must be registered with the Court before it can be used but then remains in place for as long as it is required, including if you lost capacity, for example through dementia.

Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place ensures that your relatives or chosen people can pay your bills for you or access your finances if needed and ensures things can be properly managed. This means you can be looked after but also makes life easier for your loved ones at a difficult time.

There is a second type of Lasting Power of Attorney which relates to health and welfare decisions. This could only be used if you lost your mental capacity and were unable to make decisions yourself, but allows you to choose somebody who would have legal authority to speak for you in decisions regarding your care or medical treatment in those circumstances.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is an insurance policy – it may be that it is never needed but if you find that you do need a Lasting Power of Attorney and don’t have one in place, then the alternative is somebody applying for a Deputyship Order on your behalf. This would mean that you would have no choice as to who would be appointed to make decisions for you. A Deputyship Order can take a long time to put in place and can be an expensive process, so we would recommend having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

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