The importance of life and estate planning

There are many considerations to bear in mind when planning and making decisions for your life and estate. In this series of short videos, Donna Mahoney discusses the different areas you should be thinking when doing so. 

In our first video, we discuss the topic of end of life planning and why it is important to plan for this as early as possible, even though it can sometimes be uncomfortable to do so.

This video covers:

  • What end of life planning is and why it is important,
  • who should be considering this,
  • what concerns around finances you may have.,
  • whether the joint ‘owner’ of a bank account can access funds after the other person passes,
  • whether there are any assets that someone left behind can access quicker compared to waiting for probate,
  • and if life insurance funds are subject to Inheritance Tax (IHT).

If you have any questions regarding life and estate planning your can contact Heidi or Donna using the form below.


Why is End of Life Planning important, and what does it mean?


“Lots of people would think about End of Life Planning as just writing a Will, but our clients have told us that there’s so much more that they need. It’s financial decisions legal decisions, practical decisions and considerations that will help their loved ones when they’ve passed, making some sort of good decisions, sorting out the finances, arranging the funeral, and those sort of practical considerations that they might not have thought about.”

Is this something that is just relevant to the elderly or people that are ill?


“Certainly not. We should all be putting plans in place for our later life. We obviously don’t know when our death will come, and I think it’s giving loved ones the reassurance that plans have been put in place to deal with things when they’re no longer there.

From an accountancy perspective, I know one of the things that affects loved ones is money.”

How can our clients support themselves regarding finances?

Donna Mahoney, Senior Manager, Tax team:

“I’ve seen that the concerns about finances depend on the individual circumstances. So, a married couple might have different concerns than somebody who’s maybe single.

So the married couple, for example, they’d want to make sure that the surviving individual out of the pair of them has sufficient funds to be able to continue after their loved one’s death. Because when somebody passes away, bank accounts are often frozen, but that’s only single bank accounts. So one bit of simple advice that I do give clients is to have some joint bank accounts.

It is a case of just reviewing your finances to see where the funds will continue flowing from and what commitments are out there- perhaps something more of a concern to younger individuals who might have borrowings and financial commitments as opposed to a retired couple who are just really making sure that.”

A joint account is unaffected by death. Is that so that the joint owner of the account can still access those funds?

Donna Mahoney, Senior Manager, Tax team:

“That’s right, yes. So if you’ve got a joint bank account when somebody passes away, the banks are very quick to pass that into the sole ownership, surviving owner of that account.

There’s no time delay, no requirement for grant of probate. It’s definitely a tick on the easy and practical to do list.”

Are there any other sort of assets or something that the one who’s left behind can access quicker than waiting for probate?

Donna Mahoney, Senior Manager, Tax team:

“One thing that is often accessed relatively quickly is life insurance. That wouldn’t need to wait for a grant of probate. If they are written in trust, the trustees of the policy can pay those funds out and they are very useful for paying Inheritance Tax.

Are life insurance funds subject to Inheritance Tax?

Donna Mahoney, Senior Manager, Tax team:

“Not if they are written into trust, which is often what we find they are.”


So, this could be a useful tax planning strategy. Because one of the things we talk to our clients about in End of Life planning is finances with an eye on Inheritance Tax and the steps that they can take to mitigate that bill at the end of the day.”

– Transcript ends – 

We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.


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