Thursday, 18 September 2014

Change in Intestacy Laws

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill has received royal assent and will come into force on 1 October 2014. The Bill simplifies the intestacy rules for England and Wales, in particular abolishing the spousal life interest trust.

From 1st October 2014, if a person dies without having made a will, leaving a surviving spouse or civil partner but no children, the surviving spouse will inherit everything. Currently, if the deceased leaves no children the surviving spouse shares the estate with the deceased’s parents and siblings.

Where there are surviving children and a surviving spouse, the spouse will receive the ‘Statutory Legacy’ of £250,000 (this will rise in line with CPI at least every 5 year), the personal belongings and half of everything else outright. The children then get the remaining half share on trust until they reach the age of 18. Before the spouse would only be entitled to the income of the half share which on her/his death would pass to the children.

Not leaving a Will that is reflective of your wishes could result in your estate not being passed on to who you would like and could result in tax being paid un-necessarily.  

If you wish to review your Will or put one in place, please contact Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664  or email

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Scottish Independence

Whilst the argument rages in respect of the yes and no vote, it has emerged that in there could be a very real consequence for savers both north and south of the border in the event of independence. Current EU rules forbid savers to hold certain policies, such as ISAs to be administered in other countries, therefore savers in England will not be able to continue to hold a policy with a Scottish based provider with visa versa also being true.

It is therefore even more important to watch the referendum carefully and continue to review investments on a regular basis.

If you wish to review your investments, please contact Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or email

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Pensions Regulator uses formal powers over Auto Enrolment

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued the first quarterly bulletin which details how many times it has needed to use its formal powers to ensure employers comply with their automatic enrolment duties.

The first of the new quarterly bulletins shows the regulator had used its powers on 23 occasions up until the end of June this year. The powers listed include the ability to carry out inspections and to issue statutory notices including fixed penalty and escalating fines.

Executive director of automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said:

‘Employers and the pensions industry are understandably interested to know how and when we use our powers. To date the vast majority of employers are complying with their new workplace pension duties without the regulator needing to use our enforcement powers.’

‘I believe this is a testament to the success of our proportionate, risk-based approach to compliance and enforcement. We target our resources where they will maximise compliance and work with employers to help them comply with their duties.’

‘We have provided the tools and assistance that large and medium employers need to ensure millions of workers didn’t miss out on the pension contributions they are entitled to. On a small number of occasions, when our intervention has not resulted in the required outcome, we have used our powers to help to ensure employers comply with their duties.’

For general guidance on employers auto enrolment duties see TPR website. If you would like specific guidance, help or advice on how to deal with your auto enrolment obligations please do get in touch.

Internet link: Bulletin