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Octopus hosts panel discussion on changing face of estate planning

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Octopus Investments this week held an exclusive discussion panel on the latest developments and challenges for advisers in estate planning.

The event, held at Octopus’ offices in Old Bailey, was chaired by Tony Wickenden of Technical Connection, the sector’s leading technical consultancy business, and was attended by a select group of advisers. Mark Williams, Business Line Manager for Inheritance Tax at Octopus, also joined the panel, alongside guest speakers Alison Broadberry and Charles Hutton of Speechly Bircham, LLP.

This was the latest of a series of specialist events led by Octopus in partnership with Technical Connection which aims to provide financial advisers with a forum to discuss in detail the issues facing advisers and financial planners in the tax planning market, especially in light of recent changes such as the implementation of the UK’s first General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR) and the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). Estate planning in particular is becoming an increasingly significant area for advisers and their clients. Not only are greater proportions of investors affected by inheritance tax, but the regulations and taxation surrounding estate planning are more complex than ever and a new cultural climate is developing around the question of tax avoidance.

Tony Wickenden and Mark Williams led discussions addressing a range of issues central to the subject of estate planning:

· The impact that IHT-exempt ISAs featuring AIM investments will have on the overall context of estate planning

· The financial products and strategies available for advisers and their clients adapting to the limitation of deductible liabilities, particularly in light of the latest inheritance Tax Manual guidelines

· The role of risk in estate planning

· Incorporating protection and trusts into the wealth management process

In addition to this, Alison Broadberry and Charles Hutton provided expert commentary on planning techniques for residential property in an estate while Phillip Wickenden, Managing Director of research business So Here's the Plan, offered views on the issues discussed based on recent research on adviser activity and provider support in the estate planning market.

Tony Wickenden, joint managing director of Technical Connection and chair for all the events, says: “This seminar focused on discussing practical estate planning against a backdrop of continuing government action against aggressive avoidance, and was the latest in what has been a really valuable and successful series of events on tax planning over the last year. We have found that these "round table" events with a small number of specialist advisers offer a great opportunity to discuss in detail and on a "peer to peer" basis, subjects that usually get insufficient airtime at more broadly spread events. Our aim throughout the series has been for all attendees to go away from these events better informed and with clarity over practical planning that can be carried out. I believe that we have achieved this thanks to the calibre of the discussion at each event and the fantastic insight provided by our guest speakers."

Mark Williams, Business Line Manager for IHT at Octopus, says: “It is always interesting and insightful when we invite advisers into Octopus and hear about the challenges facing them and their clients. The series of events we have run with Technical Connection has proved to be incredibly helpful for advisers, so we were delighted to welcome Tony back to chair the latest seminar and provide his expert guidance on tax legislation and recent developments with HMRC. It’s also been a pleasure to hear from Alison Broadberry and Charles Hutton from Speechly Bircham, and to benefit from their experience in advising clients on an extensive scope of estate planning requirements. We are undergoing increasing demand for our tax-efficient investment solutions and so it’s really important that we are able to provide advisers with the right forum to debate the questions they have about how those solutions can fit within wider estate planning strategies. This seminar hopefully provided advisers with that information and a greater understanding of the issues affecting the tax planning market in the face of increasingly complex legislation and client requirements.”

Charles Hutton, partner at Speechly Bircham and head of the firm’s specialist probate team, says: “Alison and I found the round table discussion really interesting.  We primarily looked into issues concerning estate planning for properties, including the main residence, second homes, parents buying properties for their children, and even children buying properties for their parents. Despite several legislative changes recently, there are still steps which can be taken to reduce the IHT exposure and it’s vital that advisers are brought up to speed about the ways in which they can do help their clients to do this.”

Williams adds: “We work hard at Octopus to provide advisers with the necessary information to help them really understand the tax planning landscape and to find the right solutions for each client’s planning needs. This series of specialist events forms part of a wider programme of seminars and workshops aiming to support advisers across the country. We are delighted with the feedback we have received from all attendees as to the added

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