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Should your life insurance policy be in trust, and who will benefit from it?

So, you’ve already arranged a life insurance policy, or you may be about to do so. Perhaps you’ve done this to cover a debt such as a mortgage, or to provide a lump sum for your partner or your financial dependents. But should this policy be in trust? Who will get the money and how long will it take?

If you have made a will then it will contain a list of who you wish to receive the benefits of your estate, but before this can be carried out your executors will have to apply for a grant of probate. If you haven’t made a will, any assets will be subject to the Laws of Intestacy which could see them go to the wrong people.

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Income Protection – why wouldn’t you want to protect your income?

Income Protection, also known as IP insurance, can help financially support you if you are unable to work and suffer a loss of earnings as a result of an injury or illness.

When you think about it, the most important skill you possess is being able to work and earn a living to pay for all the nice things in life. Unfortunately, the human body is not indestructible and is prone to getting injured or suffer from various ailments.

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Critical Illness Cover – what does it really do?

Critical Illness Cover is protection that’s designed to pay a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with one of a list of specified critical illnesses. 

Most Critical Illness Cover providers have a list of 40 plus conditions covered, but the big four are Heart Attack, Cancer, Stroke and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Most companies offer children’s cover as an additional benefit and will pay an amount if any of your children are diagnosed with one of the listed conditions. Sadly, this is one of the biggest claim areas.

It doesn’t matter what happens after the diagnosis, it’s the diagnosis that triggers the claim on Critical Illness Cover (provided you survive more than 28 days after diagnosis). You don’t have to be terminally ill, off work for long periods of time, and you can make a complete recovery.

I’ve been a Financial Adviser for nearly 30 years and for much of this time I’ve been advising people to take out a range of protection insurance policies. For all of this time, I’ve been almost evangelical about the benefit of Critical Illness Cover.

Critical Illness Cover has been around for over 40 years. Most people now know somebody who has benefited from a Critical Illness Cover claim. If you don’t and you’re reading this – well – now you do. Whilst not unique, I’m unusual in that I not only advise on, and arrange critical illness policies for clients, I’ve also claimed on my own.

So what benefit does it really give?

You might just think it’s a lump of money – you can use it to reduce or pay off your mortgage and other debts, provide for additional health care and adapt your home if you need, but it also goes much deeper than that.

I was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. It goes without saying that it’s a pretty uncomfortable conversation that you have with your Consultant at this point. There’s shock, fear and even a bit of panic. The most difficult thing to deal with, in my view, is the uncertainty. Cancer, its treatment and subsequent hopeful recovery is a long road to travel and you ask yourself lots of questions. Will I make a recovery, will I be able to work, how will I react to treatment, if I do go into remission will it come back?

My NHS treatment was superb and with that, brilliant support from family and friends and a bit of luck I have made full recovery. The initial stages were very difficult with an endless round of hospital visits, surgery and chemotherapy which lasted around 6 months. Then you have regular checks and scans, hopefully to confirm that you are still clear. After 5 years, the big day when they tell you that you’re still clear and apart from for the occasional check every 5 years thereafter, they don’t want to see you again.

I made a claim on my Critical Illness Cover the day after I was diagnosed and within a month both policies had paid out.

I was doubly lucky in that I didn’t actually have to have too much time off work. I was able to work knowing that I didn’t have to if I wasn’t up to it. I knew that if I didn’t respond well to treatment that financially I was fairly secure. Believe me when I say that having that safety net is a massive comfort. I was able to concentrate on recovery without financial worries.

When you’re dealing with any critical illness you can count on superb care of the NHS. Hopefully you can rely on help from your family, friends and work colleagues, but in addition you need to be able to focus completely on the job at hand – recovery. To be able to do that you need to be free from financial worry. You need every possible advantage you can get. I know money isn’t everything, but it really does help. That’s the real point behind Critical Illness Cover and I truly believe that my policy helped me get to the stage I am at today.

About Critical Illness policies

Critical Illness Cover has evolved over the years and the modern policy offers flexibility with a much wider range of coverage. These include numerous additional benefits designed to aid recovery including, in some cases, specialist second opinions, access to complementary treatments and psychological support.

In 2017 (the latest full year statistics) 15,962 critical illness claims were paid in the UK with a total value of £1.16 billion paid. 92.2% of all claims made were paid by the insurers. (source: Association of British Insurers Claim Statistics 30/04/2018).

If you have existing policies, they are worth reviewing to make sure that the cover meets your current needs. If you don’t already have cover you can speak to an Independent Financial Adviser and see what’s available. It doesn’t need to break the bank.

If you’re ever in the unfortunate position that you need to claim on your Critical Illness Cover, you’ll think it’s the best money you’ve ever spent.

Critical Illness plans typically have no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse. Plans may not cover all the definitions of a critical illness. The definitions vary between product providers and will be described within the Key Features and policy documentation if you proceed with the plan.

For more information on Critical Illness Cover, or any other protection needs, contact Simon Ereira at Temple Wealth Management on 01305 213150 or simon.ereira@templewealth.co.uk

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The importance of reviewing your personal finances, whatever your age

Setting goals for your personal finances is crucial to success and achieving your financial objectives.

What does it mean for your age group?

From your first job until your 30s, these are known as “the vulnerable years” as you are trying to build up your personal finances to secure your future, protecting your income and saving for the future.  You may have a specific financial objective such as buying your first car, saving a deposit for your first house or for even retirement.  This means being aware that, however small, the earlier you start the better the result.

Then you move to your 40s, when you may own your own home, have a family.  Your objectives will change towards protecting a higher level of income, whilst also protecting your family and lifestyle.  Retirement starts to be foremost in your planning in order to ensure financial security. It is important to consider making the most of your tax allowances for the future. 

In the years up until retirement, which could be any age from 55 upwards to around 70 you will begin to see the benefit of planning your personal finances from an early age.  You will be looking at making retirement work for you.  These are the years that you will start to think about your children and grandchildren and their financial security, maybe preparing the “bank of Mum and Dad”.  Health will start to play a part in your future financial planning.  An Independent Financial Adviser can help you assess if your personal finances are on track to achieve your goals.  

From your 70s and through retirement, your personal finances may mean that long term care becomes more of a consideration.   This can also include succession planning in terms of inheritance tax, Power of Attorney and ensuring your will is up to date.

There will be other areas of planning that will be unique to your situation and therefore the earlier you engage with planning your personal finances the better.  It does not matter if you think you have no money to consider these things; if you start planning early and engaging the easier it will be in the future.  An Independent Financial Adviser can help at any stage of planning.

Temple Wealth Management – Your Financial Partner for Life.

We believe that professional financial advice can add significant value to individuals at any stage of life whether this be ensuring you have a competitive mortgage rate; reviewing your protection needs in case the worst were to happen. 

Temple Wealth Management can help find the right solution to make your savings work better for you and guide you through retirement planning.

Contact TWM on 01329 282882 or fareham@templewealth.co.uk to find out how one of our advisers can help you

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Business protection – borrowing money to fund a business

Many business owners borrow money to provide the working capital needed to run a business. This money may be borrowed from the bank or from the director’s own capital that is lent to the business.

Business owners’ loans

Lending your own money to the business has a number of advantages with regards to tax and flexibility, however you might not be aware that in the event of an owner dying these loans are immediately repayable to their estate. This often means that the business may need to sell its assets or turn to the bank to replace that borrowing.

In the current economic climate, how easy would that be? The business could also face the possibility of expensive legal action with the deceased’s legal representatives. There are several ways to avoid this situation by effectively enabling you to become your own business banker.

It is worth reviewing your situation with a specialist business protection advisor. The intial consultation to ensure the business remains trading after the death of an owner or shareholder is usually free.

Bank loans

If you have a bank loan, you need to consider how you would service this loan if you lost a key business owner or manager through death or through serious or long term illness. In the current financial climate can you be sure your bank would assist in a recovery plan or would they, as in many cases, simply recall the overdraft and close the business down? It is easy to prepare for any eventuality.

Personal security

This is even more important if you have been asked to provide personal security (commonly known as a personal guarantee), in particular where the bank has taken a charge over your house. This could mean that in the event of your death your family could be reliant on your shareholders, partners or co-owners’ ability and desire to service the debt to keep a roof over their head.

In all of these situations we can advise on the most cost-effective means of protecting your family and your company.

In some cases, but not all, the existing business protection cover in place may be sufficient and fit for purpose. Following our free initial consultation we may be able to advise on an alternative that provides additional benefit for the same premium or similar cover for a lower premium. Where there is limited or no cover in place, we can create a cost effective cover strategy to protect both your family and your business.

For more information contact Tony Pizzi, our independent business protection adviser at Temple Wealth on 01329 282882

Amelia Foster No Comments

Is life insurance & wearable technology a match made in heaven?

 

Life Insurance TechnologyOne of the hottest topics being discussed in the protection industry is the possible move towards embracing wearable technology. One provider is already offering reduced gym memberships, as well as encouraging policy engagement through health and activity tracking. But could it change the industry and the relationship between providers and consumers?

The start of something special

These first moves towards integration may start more providers down the road of offering discounts and encouraging customers to engage with their policies. Read more