News & Articles

Gifting money
Gifting money for a deposit – what you need to know

Parents and grandparents keen to help their offspring get onto the housing ladder are increasingly helping them out with the money they need for their deposit. This can help reduce Inheritance Tax (IHT) too, but you need to be aware of the rules.

Everyone has a yearly ‘gift’ allowance for IHT and can give away up to £3,000 each year. If you don’t use it, you can carry over any unused allowance from one tax year to the next up to a maximum of £6,000. This means you could give away up to £6,000, or £12,000 for a couple.

Wedding gifts

You can also make small gifts of up to £250 per person per tax year to as many people as you like. Weddings are another opportunity to hand over cash to lo...

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Mortgage payment protection
How can you pay your mortgage if you lose your income?

Losing your income can cause major financial upset. However, there are policies which are designed to protect your income in such situation, giving you peace of mind.

Income protection

If you were to become unable to work due to an accident or illness, these policies are designed to replace a proportion of your income. There are also policies available that will cover you, it you are made redundant although these will cost more. Long-term income protection will cover you until you reach retirement, while shorter-term income protection policies are cheaper and will only pay out for a set period of time.

Mortgage payment protection

This will cover your repayments for a cer...

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Leasehold homes
Leasehold homes - what you need to know

In the UK, flats are commonly owned on a leasehold basis, while houses are normally sold as freehold properties. Many leases are granted on a 99-year basis, while some can run for as long as 999 years.

If you buy a leasehold property, you’ll own the property but not the land it stands on. By contrast, buying a freehold property means that you own both the building and the land it occupies.

The outstanding term of the lease

Once a lease has less than 80 years left, it becomes harder to get a mortgage and it can be expensive to renew the lease for a further term.

The advice is that to avoid potentially having to pay tens of thousands of pounds to renew it, buyers should look for a proper...

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Energy Performance Certificates
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) & Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating system was introduced in England and Wales in 2007. An EPC is required whenever a property is constructed, sold or rented out. An EPC shows how much energy a property uses and how it rates in terms of energy efficiency based on factors such as insulation, heating and hot water systems, ventilation and fuels used. Properties are given a property rating from A (most efficient – shown in dark green) to G (least efficient – shown in red).

What new standards have been introduced?

On 1st April 2018, new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for residential and commercially let properties were introduced. The aim of the standards is t...

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Home Insurance
Home Insurance – a closer look at the add-ons

Home insurance acts like a financial shock-absorber and protects thousands of families each year from unexpected and unwelcome loss, damage and expense.

Whilst standard policies can cover buildings and all the things kept in a home such as TVs, furniture, carpets and personal belongings, you can also choose additional cover for specific risks and tailor the policy to meet your needs.

Accidental damage

As the name suggests, this provides cover for unintentional one-off accidents that harm your possessions. So, if paint gets spilt on your carpet, or you drop your laptop and smash it, then you’d be able to make a claim.


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Life insurance
Life insurance – setting the record straight

It’s too expensive

Not so. Life insurance is far less expensive than many people imagine. We can help you find a deal that fits your budget and you can always take out additional cover later on.

I’m too young to need cover

Protection policies aren’t just for older people. The younger and fitter you are when you take out a plan, the cheaper the premiums will be. Leave it too long and you could find yourself paying a much higher price.

I get cover at work — I don’t need more

The amount you’re covered for might not be sufficient for y...

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Business protection
What’s your business’s most important asset? It’s probably not what you think…

If your health deteriorated and you were unable to work, would your business continue without you? Would you be able to afford to pay your loans? This starts the business protection discussion…

Most companies have a business continuity plan and take out insurance to help protect their assets from fire, theft and so on. But what about protecting the most valuable assets – the people?

Business Protection can help to protect your business should a director, partner, member or key employee suffer from a long-term illness, a critical illness, or even die. Business protection is an important part of the financial planning process for yo...

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Life Insurance
An Introduction to Life Insurance - Getting to grips with the basics

Life insurance may not be at the top of many people’s ‘to do’ list, but arguably it’s one of the most important financial products anyone can take out, and one of the best ways of protecting your loved ones financially. Here, we’ll provide answers to a few of the questions we’re regularly asked by clients.

Do I need life insurance?

If you need convincing that life insurance is a good product to buy, ask yourself this question. If you were to die, how much money would your family have to live on? Many families would find themselves running short of money very quickly. Your salary would stop, but the household bills would keep coming in.

A pay out from a policy could make the difference between your ...

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Buy to Let Properties and Tax

Recent tax changes for Buy to Let properties have two major implications for landlords. Firstly, landlords need to take the changes into account when completing their tax returns. Secondly, and possibly more importantly from the landlord’s point of view, their profit could be affected.

This guide is correct at the time of publication and we recommend landlords consult an accountant about their personal situation.

Income Tax

Mortgage/loan interest

It’s never been possible to claim the repayment element of your mortgage but, since 6 Apr...

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An Introduction to Mortgages - Getting to grips with the basics

There are times in our lives when we can all use some help and guidance. Buying a home is a one of those major steps that’s much easier to take if you’re well-informed and get some good advice. Here, we’ll provide answers to a few of the questions we’re regularly asked by clients.

What’s a mortgage and how does it work?

A mortgage is a loan that you take out to buy a property. Most run for 25 years but can be shorter or longer. The money you borrow is called the capital and the lender charges you interest on it until it is repaid. The loan is ‘secured’ against the value of your home until it’s paid off. If y...

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