The New Year is an excellent time to carry out a “wealth-review” to make sure your money is working as well as it can for you. Spending a little time now will help you preserve your wealth over the long term to meet your financial objectives. Things to check include whether you are up to date with the latest developments in Spain and internationally that affect you. Also, do you have a considered, strategic tax and wealth management plan in place? And has there been any change in your circumstances since you last reviewed your affairs?
Once you have assessed your investments, tax planning, succession planning and pensions, you will then be able to discuss any necessary adjustments with your financial adviser.
Savings and investments
Are you sure your investments, and the mix of them, is suitable for your life in Spain – and for your circumstances, needs, time horizon and risk tolerance? This is such an important element of protecting and growing your wealth, yet many people do not have an investment plan in place, or have neglected one they set up years ago.
You may have built up a portfolio of shares and funds over the years, without really considering how they work together or whether they suit your aims. Consider the principles for successful investing below.
- Your appetite for risk: Obtain a clear and objective assessment of your appetite for risk, or your portfolio will not be suitable for you.
- Match your risk profile to the optimum portfolio: Make sure your investment portfolio matches your attitude to risk.
- Diversification: It is critical to ensure your investments are suitably diversified, so you are not over-exposed to any given asset type, country, sector or stock.
- Yearly review: Your portfolio can shift away from the one designed to match your risk profile and objectives, and your circumstances may have changed.
Get advice to make sure your investments and wealth are arranged in the best, most up-to-date way to limit your tax liabilities. Choose someone who is well-versed in the nuances of both Spanish and British taxation. The right tax-efficient arrangement can keep most of your investments in one place and help you legitimately avoid paying too much tax.
- The first step is to establish your goals:
- Who would you like to benefit from your estate?
- Do you want them to have control over the money or not?
- How quickly would they need to be able to access the money?
- What impact will tax have?
- Would you like to try and avoid probate on some of your assets?
You then need to obtain specialist advice to ensure that your estate planning is specifically set up to achieve your wishes for your heirs.
The new EU succession regulation came into force last August allowing you to choose between Spanish or UK succession law to apply to your estate. The default position is for Spanish succession law to apply to foreign nationals living here, unless they have a will. So if you do not have a valid will that states that you have chosen UK law to apply on your death, or other such legal document, your estate may be distributed according to the restrictive Spanish law, which dictates that a certain percentage of an estate must go to certain people.
The EU succession regulation does not allow you to opt out of Spanish succession tax, which can be costly in certain circumstances. This is due on death if the asset being inherited is located in Spain (regardless of where the recipient lives), or if the recipient is resident in Spain (regardless of where the asset is located). Tax is paid by each recipient, not by the estate, and the rate depends on the relationship between the benefactor and the recipient.
Inheritances between spouses are taxable, and allowances can be very low under the state rules so you need to understand if the state or local succession tax rules apply to you. Also, bear in mind that UK inheritance tax may still apply for UK nationals.
Deciding what to do with your pension fund now, particularly following the new ‘pension freedom’ in the UK, is of fundamental importance. There are more choices than ever before.
You need to understand all the new rules and the options they provide you, and the tax implications in Spain, before you can make the correct decision for your objectives.
Whether it is investments, pension or tax planning, seek specialist advice to ensure you do what works best for your personal situation. Use an adviser who can guide you on all these aspects and provide holistic solutions so you can enjoy a healthy, wealthy 2016 and beyond.
More about Blevins Franks tax advisors
For more information and personalised advice, contact Peter Worthington, Senior Partner at Blevins Franks, on +34 971 719 181 or email@example.com.
To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on Blevins Franks Tax & Wealth Management Specialists.
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This article was written on the 4th of January, 2016.