A recent study in America by US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management and Campden Research has revealed that increasingly high numbers of so called ‘ultra high net worth’ families are heading for serious inheritance tax bills when the head of their family dies because they have no up-to-date structured asset protection plans in place.

This is an asset protection warning for high net worth families the world over – because not only is the world of inheritance tax changing, but the ways in which you can ensure succession and protect your wealth from the taxman upon death change annually as well.  An asset protection plan is a morphing, developing protection policy that has to be regularly updated.

In the United Kingdom the level at which inheritance tax is levied on an estate rises annually – however, the ways in which one can legitimately protect assets from the taxman upon death become fewer and less effective annually.  What this means is that an asset protection plan you put in place today can become null and void in terms of its effectiveness by this time next year.  This naturally leads to many people putting off getting protection in place because they don’t want to be faced with a) the hassle and b) the cost of adjusting plans annually.  But taking such an approach is short sighted.

If you put off the protection of yours and your family’s business and assets and in the meantime something happens – from being sued to facing death – it is often too late to then get protection in place.  Especially in the case of someone who is being sued, it is a criminal offence to then attempt to move assets offshore for example, to escape the litigation process.  When it comes to asset protection you cannot put off until tomorrow that which you know you must get done today.

The good news is that as fast as Chancellors and tax authorities and governments come up with inheritance tax acquisition ideas, so international tax planners come up with structures and solutions to offset and mitigate the damage that could be wrought upon your estate.  The advice is simple – the advice is to get advice!  Take guidance and counsel from professional taxation experts today, and annually review the asset protection policies and plans that you have in place so that you remain within the law and your business and wealth remains protected for life – for your life, and the life of your successors.