Obamacare Update

us healthcare.jpgOn Thursday, October 12, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order which may significantly impact those covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Executive Order would expand access to less expensive policies that provide minimal coverage and benefits and more exclusions and limitations than mandated under ACA. These cheaper policies could either be short-term medical coverage policies offered to individuals and families by commercial insurance companies or policies sold through trade associations to their members.

However, this process will likely take months to make significant changes as federal agencies propose new regulations.

Until then, not much will change.

The ACA will remain in place, including the 2017 tax penalty for those individuals residing in the US that do not have an ACA compliant policy.

For further information with regards to US compliant Medical Insurance or any other services for clients from or moving back to the USA please contact us.  

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Medical Insurance, What Do We Need And How Much Should We be Paying?

hurting walletMedical Insurance is a sore subject with many expats these days.  Gone are the days when all expat contracts included top level medical insurance with all of the bells and whistles.  Many employers have cut back on costs and with it the level of coverage that is offered to their expatriate employees; sometimes offering no coverage at all, coverage with a local provider or only coverage for the employee and not extending cover to the family or dependants.  The cost of coverage also seems to be increasing every year with many insurers increasing the cost of insurance cover by more that the rate of inflation.

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Market Update

News this past week:

  • Oil prices declined just over 2.5% last week
  • Drop in global government bonds accelerated
  • G20 summit shows the divide between the US and others
  • UN security council hold an emergency session in response to North Korea
  • Global stocks jumped and are still at near record high

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Do probate fee changes represent a ‘new inheritance tax’in the UK?

The Government has published changes to probate fees which will affect people who have recently suffered a bereavement.
The changes, which come into effect on 1 May 2017, will affect all individuals inheriting an estate worth more than £50,000. Those inheriting estates worth more than £2million will be hit by a fee increase of more than 9,000 per cent – a rise from £215 to £20,000.
95 per cent of respondents have disagreed with the initial proposals however the Government is set to push ahead with its increase in probate fees.
Thee assets of a will are not released until probate has been granted, for many the changes will also spark a need for financial assistance – adding further administrative burdens to people who are going through a period of distress.

Full details of the changes are outlined below.

For estates up to £50,000 the fee decreases from £215 to £0.

For estates exceeding £50,000 up to £300,000 the fee rises from £215 to £300, an increase of 40%.

For estates exceeding £300,000 up to £500,000 the fee rises from £215 to £1,000 an increase of 365%.

For estates exceeding £500,000 up to £1m the fee rises from £215 to £4,000, an increase of 1,760%.

For estates exceeding £1m up to £1.6m the fee rises from £215 to £8,000, an increase of 3,621%.

For estates exceeding £1.6m up to £2m the fee rises from £215 to £12,000, an increase of 5,481%.

For estates exceeding £2m the fee rises from £215 to £20,000, an increase of 9,202%.

What is a grant of probate?
When a person dies, many will have named one or more people to act as executors of their will. This means those named as executors will need to obtain the legal right to deal with the property, money and possessions outlined in the will.
Obtaining this legal right is known as a ‘grant of probate’ and until this is acquired, the assets within a will cannot be distributed.

What is changing?
When applying for a grant of probate, there is currently a flat fee structure:
• £155 when the application is made through a solicitor.
• £215 when the application is made personally.
Following the results of the government consultation, this will now change to a banded structure and probate application fees will be determined on the value of the estate:
While the changes do represent a rise for all estates over £50,000, it is worth noting that those properties valued between £5,000 and £50,000 will now be exempt from paying any fee.

When will this change come into effect?
Changes are due to be implemented on 1 May 2017. However, it is not yet clear if this relates to applications submitted after this date, or for those individuals who have died after 30 April 2017.

What do I need to do now?
If you are an executor or an intending administrator of an estate worth more than £50,000, the grant of probate application should be made as soon as possible, before the 1 May 2017, to avoid incurring the higher court fee.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you would like further information about this or any other aspect of your estate planning.

Major changes coming to UK inheritance tax and the treatment of your main residence from 2017. Now is the time to review your wills and assets to maximise the benefits.

The Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB):
You may already be aware that UK expatriates are still liable to inheritance tax (IHT) as is based on your domicile and not your usual tax residence status. Furthermore the tax is applied to your worldwide estate. A lot can be done to mitigate or remove such a liability with comprehensive financial planning however the proper course of action for property assets has always been the major point of consideration for most clients. Recent changes to the rules around your main residence bring some potentially large benefits
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is currently charged on the value of the chargeable estate which exceeds the current Nil Rate Band allowance of £325,000. Although this Nil Rate Band is now set to stay at £325,000 until 2020/21, an additional Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) will be introduced from 6 April 2017 when a deceased’s interest in a ‘residence’ is passed on death to a ‘direct descendant’ and will be phased in as follows:
• £100,000 for deaths in the tax year 2017/18
• £125,000 for deaths in the tax year 2018/19
• £150,000 for deaths in the tax year 2019/20
• £175,000 for deaths in the tax year 2020/21

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After Failed Halliburton Deal, Baker Hughes Unveils “Path For The Future” Including $2.5BN Stock, Bond Buyback

While it wasn’t exactly breaking news, with consensus having long ago decided that Halliburton and Baker Hughes would ultimately call off their ill-timed $28 billion merger announced in late 2014 following recurring media leaks, last night the two companies officially ended speculation when they announced that the contested merger would be called off, resulting in a $3.5 billion termination fee payable to Baker Hughes. With its immediate future somewhat in limbo, moments ago Baker Hughes outlined its “path for the future.”

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