We are a small practice concentrating on small businesses and individuals- mostly self employed with a small proportion of clients having property portfolio. Occasionally we come across clients with requests to advise on creation of trusts for their children so that properties can be transferred and held for the benefit of the grand/children/partner. Some other clients want to know the benefits of putting the rental property/other assets/business assets/shares portfolio in the trust and how much tax can be saved via this route. This is an area we have not practiced before but wanted to add on to our existing services to the clients and add value.
We wanted to see what sort of services other small practices are providing to such clients? Do you prepare wills or do you refer to will specialists/solicitors? Do you create trusts, prepare & file trust and personal tax returns and also advise on the tax planning aspects? We would imagine that majority of the practitioners are passing on to the solicitors when it comes to preparation of Wills & creating Trusts. If you pass on to the solicitors, do you ask them to pass their share of trust tax returns back to you? This way it becomes a mutually beneficial relationship. We are assuming that even if wills are handled by the solicitors, accountants would still be doing the accounts & trust returns?
What is the general range of fee you charge the clients for each of such duties- creation of trusts, completing trust returns, IHT returns and tax planning? Do you agree a fixed fee? Some clients also want us to act as trustees of the trusts. Is it normal for accountants to act as trustees because we understand that there should be a min of 1 trustee. We do have clients having 1-10 properties in their portfolio and prepare property rental accounts and capital gains computations every year. Sometimes we do need to advise on IHT planning therefore we are looking to expand in this area. With regard to IHT planning, we are looking to integrate trust & estate work in the same area of practice. This would ensure that all work related to the client would be dealt with in house more efficiently.
Final question, how often do you review the IHT/tax planning issues as clients’ circumstances could change quickly due to change in personal/ business status.
Any suggestions would be quite helpful.