An essential part of financial planning that provides peace of mind about what happens to your wealth

Your Will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death. If you make a Will you can also make sure you don’t pay more inheritance tax than you need to. It’s an essential part of your financial planning. Not only does it set out your wishes, but if you die without a Will, your estate will generally be divided according to the rules of intestacy, which may not reflect your wishes. Without one, the State directs who inherits, so your loved ones, relatives, friends and favourite charities may get nothing.

UK couples are spending more than £44,000 on average when they divorce or separate

Achieving a fair resolution of all the financial issues surrounding divorce or the dissolution of a registered civil partnership can be highly stressful. Alongside wanting to resolve these effectively and affordably you may also be worrying about how you will achieve the fairest division of your family assets, how to deal with any requirements for continuing support or perhaps even how you will manage to make ends meet in the future.

Is there room for any further disappointment?

Europe has suffered a stream of destabilising news this year. Firstly, there was January’s emerging markets crisis, which slowed the demand for European exports. Then there were EU parliamentary elections in May, which returned a large number of anti-establishment MEPs to Brussels and spurred David Cameron’s attempt to block the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as EU president.

Significant challenges for investors this year and beyond

In the first half of the year, geo-political unrest has dominated the headlines. There have been significant challenges for investors in recent months – geo-political upheavals, economic growth and monetary policy. Once the summer is out of the way, the attention will turn to domestic political uncertainty.

Over 6 million UK adults plan to move abroad in later life

An even split

In total, over 6 million UK adults are planning to retire abroad, with an even split between Europe and the rest of the world. Of the estimated 3.2 million UK adults planning to retire in Europe, Spain is the most popular destination with 26% of the vote. France follows in second place with 17% of votes. Italy comes in third place with a 10% popularity rating.

Taking a more gradual approach to retirement

The nature of retirement has changed – it is no longer a matter of leaving the workplace with a golden carriage clock and entering a quiet life of leisure.

Why the days of ultra-low interest rates look numbered

Inflation figures recently showed a sharper than expected drop in prices, cementing expectations that any rise in interest rates would be delayed until next year.

Have you considered tidying up your arrangements?

It would appear we are now increasingly becoming a ‘consolidation nation’, with many people combining their different contracts and services to make them easier to manage. It’s a growing trend, and new innovations are coming into the market all the time to tempt consumers. The recent launch of ‘quad-play packages’, which now combines mobile, home phone, broadband and TV, are a good example.

UK adults forced to borrow money from family members

More than one in four (28%) UK adults have been forced to borrow money from family members, according to new research. With the average amount borrowed by individuals standing at £2,123, the collective family lending economy is now worth around £31billion. Family Generations & Financial Pressures is the title of the new report from Scottish Widows think tank Centre for the Modern Family and shows that 23% of family borrowers need this support just to cover day-to-day household costs.

Have you taken advantage of your larger tax-efficient allowance?

The new Individual Savings Account (ISA) rules were introduced in July, giving savers and investors more flexibility and a larger tax-efficient allowance than ever before. Four out of ten people told the consumer organisation Which? that they would save more as a result of the annual limit increasing to £15,000, up from £11,880.

Diversifying your assets helps spread risk by lessening the potential for losses

Most investors are used to hearing the term ‘diversification’ – but it has a broader meaning than many realise. Diversification is the process of investing in areas that have little or no relation to each other. This is called a ‘low correlation’.

Expanding and contracting in response to demand

Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) are stock market–quoted collective investment schemes. Like investment trusts and unit trusts, they invest in a variety of assets to generate a return for investors. They share certain similarities with both investment trusts and unit trusts, but there are also key differences.

Acting in the investorsí best interests at all times

Open-ended investment funds are often called ‘collective investment schemes’ and are run by fund management companies. There are many different types of fund.

Investing in one or more asset classes

Investing in funds provides a simple and effective method of diversification. Because your money is pooled together with that of other investors, each fund is large enough to diversify across hundreds and even thousands of individual companies and assets. A pooled (or collective) investment is a fund into which many people put their money, which is then invested in one or more asset classes by a fund manager.

A time-tested method for controlling risk over time

It’s natural to be looking for ways to smooth out your portfolio’s returns. Investing regularly can smooth out market highs and lows over time. In a fluctuating market, a strategy known as ‘pound-cost averaging’ can help smooth out the effect of market changes on the value of your investment and is one way to achieve some peace of mind through this simple, time-tested method for controlling risk over time.