Monday, 21 January 2019

Pension cold calling ban



The Government has confirmed, from Wednesday 9th January 2019, it is illegal for companies to make unwanted, unsolicited phone calls to people about their pensions.

Companies that break this rule can be fined up to £500,000.

One of the most common methods used by scammers to commit pensions fraud is through cold calls, which is why the government has taken action.

According to research conducted by the Money Advice Service, there could be as many as 8 scam calls every second – the equivalent of 250 million calls per year.

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“Pension scammers are the lowest of the low. They rob savers of their hard-earned retirement and devastate lives. We know that cold-calling is the pension scammers’ main tactic, which is why we’ve made them illegal.”

“If you receive an unwanted call from an unknown caller about your pension, get as much information you can and report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office. I’d also urge all savers to seek independent advice if you’re thinking about making an important financial decision.”

According to the FCA, pension scammers stole on average £91,000 per victim last year.

Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said:

“Pension scams are despicable crimes, fleecing people of the retirement they’ve earned by doing the right thing, working hard and saving for the future. Banning pensions cold-calling will protect people from these callous crooks and ensure fraudsters feel the full force of the law.”

If you receive a cold call about your pension, get any information you can, such as the company name or phone number, and report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office via their website or on 0303 123 1113.

If you think you have lost money to fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website.

Are you looking for advice on your pensions? Always check the Financial Adviser is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority on the Financial Services Register (http://www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register) before seeking their advice.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team at Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or by email on wwfs@wardwilliams.co.uk.

  Photo credit: rawpixel.com

Monday, 14 January 2019

Probate Fees




The Ministry of Justice has announced changes to Probate Fees from April 2019.
 
Current fees:
  • £215.
  • £155 if applying through a solicitor.
  • No fee if Estate is valued at less than £5,000.


New fees (subject to Parliament approval):

Assessed value of Estate
Fee
£50,000 - £300,000
£250
£300,000 - £500,000
£750
£500,000 - £1M
£2,500
£1M - £1.6M
£4,000
£1.6M - £2M
£5,000
£2M +
£6,000

The changes only apply to England and Wales.

Probate describes the legal and financial processes involved in dealing with the assets of a person who has died.

Before the next of kin, or Executor named in the Will can claim, transfer, sell or distribute any of the deceased assets they will normally have to apply for Probate.

When Probate has been granted by Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration the next of kin or Executor can start to deal with the deceased person’s Estate, in accordance with the Will, or the Laws of Intestacy – if the deceased did not have a Will.

Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd – Comments


  • This is significant increase in the fee, which could affect a number of Estates, especially in London and the South East. 
  • There is a potential problem as cash is likely to be needed by the personal representatives to obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in order to access the assets held within the Estate. If cash is not available, then the personal representatives may need to borrow to pay the fee.


There are solutions to this potential problem:
  

  • Life policies written under Trust can be paid out without Grant of Probate. 
  • Death benefits from most personal pensions can be accessed, it is sensible to have a nomination of beneficiary in place.
  • Most married and partnered couples below State Pension age can claim a Bereavement Support payment.


Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd can assist with ensuring that there is sufficient cash available to pay Probate Fees.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team at Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or by email on wwfs@wardwilliams.co.uk.


Photo credit: Melinda Gimpel