Services for individuals -

We can help you identify what assets you have.

We can answer queries about your Pension. We can obtain valuations and discuss options for sharing assets.

Our Services

Advice on Pensions and Valuations

If you intend to separate we can provide expert advice about your Pension and what will happen to the Pension when you divorce. Understanding what your Pension will be worth to  you in the future is vital.

There are different types of Pension;

Final Salary/Defined Benefit Pension

These types of Pensions can be hugely valuable. Sometimes they are worth more than the matrimonial home. They are based on the number of years service rather than what has physically been paid into the scheme.  In these cases the Pension share is usually transferred to an external Pension scheme  which may be already held by the spouse or may have to be set up of new.

These forms of Pension can often be worth far more to the holder than to the person receiving the Pension share.

Personal Pensions/Defined Contribution Pensions

These types of Pensions tend to be straightforward to value and to share. Under the current rules there is the ability (although not recommended in most cases) to draw down the entire pension. Income from this type of Pension can be flexible to fit in with the  holder’s circumstances. Tax can be paid more efficiently. Care has to be taken to make sure benefits are not taken and passed elsewhere prior to separation.

In almost all divorce cases where one spouse has a Pension it will be necessary to obtain a valuation of the Pension. That might seem simple  but the date when the valuation is made is important. In Scotland it has to be as at the date of separation.

Not only is it important to obtain the correct valuation  but you also have to make sure that the valuation of the Pension relates to the period of the marriage. We can provide expert advice  to ensure that your Pension is correctly valued.

Pension Sharing and Offsetting

Pension Sharing can be Complicated

Pension sharing has become common in divorce cases. Sometimes a Pension can be the most valuable item of matrimonial property. Pension Sharing can be a complex process. Failures in making sure that all the appropriate pieces of the ‘jigsaw’ are in place can lead to serious problems.

Getting the procedures  wrong can be very costly and possibly lead to further court  action.

We are experienced in avoiding these pitfalls. We will work closely with your Family Lawyer to make sure your case runs smoothly.

The Pension is often an important part of any settlement , although it should not be looked at in isolation.  Valuations should be obtained for all the matrimonial assets.

Once that has been done there can be a discussion about how the assets should be shared.

Pensions can be Offset against other Assets

Very often there is a family home which has a value. In some cases it may be practical for one person to have the matrimonial home transferred into their sole name. To balance this out the other person might retain their Pension and therefore Pension sharing would not be necessary.

This is the principle of offsetting and the circumstances in each case will dictate if it is a good idea or not.

We can discuss with you the pros and cons of Offsetting.

Life cover

Sometimes known as life protection, this type of plan rarely accumulates any value and tends to be the first to be cancelled. Care should be taken though as if one party is providing monthly income to cover school fees or maintenance and that party dies, the income could cease. So sometimes keeping cover in place is essential.

Advice as to whether or not to cancel should be taken.

Cash Flow Modelling / Will there be enough Income?

When a couple have lived together for a long time it is common for one or other  to have taken charge  of the household finances.

If the couple decide to separate there can be problems with the person who has not been involved with the finances potentially being at a disadvantage. One of the biggest worries separating couples have is whether or not there is going to be sufficient income for each of them in the future.

Make Sure there is enough for the Future

Often there are different sources of income to consider and it can be difficult to imagine what the future situation will look like.

Software is available (known as Cash Flow Modelling – explained in this video) which can simplify and clarify the figures. The use of charts and visuals make things easier to understand.

We have experts who specialise in this type of Financial Planning

General Advice on Investments

Investments which either party has bought during the course of the marriage are considered  as matrimonial property and are valued at the date of separation.

Some of these investments might be simple interest-bearing building society accounts. Others might be more complicated share save schemes where it is not always clear how to obtain  a valuation.

If you have such investments we can provide expert advice  as to which  assets it might be best to share and which it might be best to retain

Advice on Business Assets

A family business may be one of the matrimonial assets. As with all other items of matrimonial property a valuation of the business should be obtained.

It is possible that the business provides  income for the family and indeed there may be other family members employed by the business.

What should happen to the business  may well be a complicated matter because of these issues.

We can provide expert financial advice to make sure  the implications of disposing of the business or offsetting its value against other  assets is fully understood.

Our approach

Getting Started

Phone or video call at our cost to understand your situation and to get to know you. It also provides you with the opportunity to ask any questions and to understand how we work.

Agreement to Proceed

On the basis that we are in a position to help and you wish to proceed, our client agreement would be completed and our planning & advice fee clarified, along with the initial fee of £750 which is payable at the outset.

Gathering Information / Agreeing Objectives

The process of gathering information about all your assets and personal financial circumstances would begin, and we would also have a further meeting to confirm and agree your objectives and priorities.

Building Your Plan

Having gathered all of the information and agreed your objectives we then analyse the data and build a plan to meet your needs.

Presenting the Plan

A further meeting is held to talk through your plan, and show how it can work for you as well as setting out the required actions.  

Next Steps

Any product recommendations are implemented where required and in all situations a minimum further fee of a further £750 would be due for completion of the work.  However please note that this may well be offset against any pension sharing or investment advice.

The Future

In some cases there will be no further action required and no need for our ongoing advice. In others the ongoing support and advice that we offer may be key to making your plan a success and in this case, we would look forward to working with you for many years to come.