Do you have control over what happens to your estate, both immediately after your death and for generations to come?

Following the changes introduced by the Finance Act 2006 trusts still remain an important estate planning mechanism. A trust arrangement can ensure that your wealth is properly managed and distributed after your death, so that it provides for the people who depend on you and is enjoyed by your heirs in the way you intend.

An investment bond is a single premium life insurance policy and is a potentially tax-efficient way of holding a range of investment funds in one place. They can be a good way of allowing you to invest in a mixture of investment funds that are managed by professional investment managers.

An Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a tax-efficient wrapper. Within an ISA you pay no capital gains tax and no further tax on the income, making it one of the most tax-efficient savings vehicles available.

Investment trusts are based upon fixed amounts of capital divided into shares. This makes them closed ended, unlike the open-ended structure of unit trusts. They can be one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to invest in the stock market. Once the capital has been divided into shares, you can purchase the shares. When an investment trust sells shares, it is not taxed on any capital gains it has made. By contrast, private investors are subject to capital gains tax when they sell shares in their own portfolio.

Open-ended investment companies (OEICs) are stock market-quoted collective investment schemes. Like unit trusts and investment trusts they invest in a variety of assets to generate a return for investors.

Unit trusts are a collective investment that allows you to participate in a wider range of investments than can normally be achieved on your own with smaller sums of money. Pooling your money with others also reduces the risk.

The recent volatility of global markets has tested the nerves of even the most experienced investors, making it a difficult time for individuals who rely on income from investments for some or all of their needs.

If you require your money to provide the potential for capital growth or income, or a combination of both, provided you are willing to accept an element of risk pooled investments could just be the solution you are looking for. A pooled investment allows you to invest in a large, professionally managed portfolio of assets with many other investors. As a result of this, the risk is reduced due to the wider spread of investments in the portfolio.

One of the principal tenets of spreading risk in your portfolio is to diversify your investments whatever the time of year. Diversification is the process of investing in areas that have little or no relation to each other. This is called a ‘low correlation’. Diversification helps lessen what’s known as ‘unsystematic risk’, such as reductions in the value of certain investment sectors, regions or asset types in general. But there are some events and risks that diversification cannot help with – these are referred to as ‘systemic risks’. These include interest rates, inflation, wars and recession. This is important to remember when building your portfolio.

Many investors may have had a roller-coaster ride recently. Fallout from the eurozone crisis has created the most turbulent period in world stock markets since the downturn began in 2008. However, amid all this gloom there is some good news. The simple truth is that volatility is a fact of investing life; you’re often better served staying in the markets over the long term than pulling out. Here’s why, and how, you can do it.

Effective inheritance tax planning could save your beneficiaries thousands of pounds, maybe even hundreds of thousands depending on the size of your estate. At its simplest, inheritance tax (IHT) is the tax payable on your estate when you die if the value of your estate exceeds a certain amount.

The Future of Long Term Care report, launched by retirement specialist LV=, shows that as life expectancy in the UK increases, the number of people who will need to make use of formal long-term care services will grow from 840,184 today to 1.1 million by 2025, an increase of 37 per cent.

With so many different protection options available, making the right decision to protect your personal and financial situation can seem overwhelming. There is a plethora of protection solutions which could help ensure that a lump sum, or a replacement income, becomes available to you in the event that it is needed. We can make sure that you are able to take the right decisions to deliver peace of mind for you and your family in the event of death, if you are too ill to work or if you are diagnosed with a critical illness.

Most people, during their career, accumulate a number of different pension plans. Keeping your pension savings in a number of different plans may result in lost investment opportunities and unnecessary exposure to risk. However not all consolidation of pensions will be in your best interests. You should always look carefully into the possible benefits and drawbacks and if unsure seek professional advice.

Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of UK adults aged 55 and over are unaware that certain medical conditions could entitle them to a higher level of pension income through their annuity provider, according to research [1] from MGM Advantage.