Overviews - Where to view and track estate distributions in the overviews

In most cases with a surviving spouse or partner, the estate will be credited to the survivor, provided she or he is entered into the plan as a spouse or partner and also provided that a different beneficiary hasn't been nominated for the individual assets (e.g. bonds) and protection policies or for the estate on the whole.

The software will, by default, distribute the estate (IHT exempt) to the surviving spouse or partner. However, you can nominate different beneficiaries for the entire estate, via the Estate Plans screen or, for protection policies and life funds, individually, on the Beneficiary Designation panels of the Protection and Investments screens. If you haven't altered any of these settings, the estate will go to the spouse.

You will see a breakdown of distributions asset by asset, on the Overview > Legacy screen. The Plan Legacy will show these distributions as of the individual's planned mortality, based on the position of the Mortality event on the timeline. We also have immediate mortality reports (you will find tabs for them) if needed.

Liquidated assets can also be seen on the Let's See chart, provided there is a surviving spouse and the plan continues thereafter. We do not show the true endpoint of the plan, the death of the last survivor, as in many cases this would be a blank bar or a very large inflow from asset distributions.

You can view the amounts of these distributions on the cash flow chart by click the year of mortality, select Detailed Info (on the chart legend), and on the chart details panel select Cash Flow.

Scroll to the bottom of the Cash Flow tab and you will find a list of "Cash Flow Items not Displayed on Chart". These will show benefit payouts form protection policies and also the values of items liquidated and distributed through the estate.

For example, if upon death your client John had a NatWest savings account with a balance of 40,000, you would see in the Cash Flow details an "Estate credit from NatWest" of 40,000 going into the Estate of John.

This estate credit would in turn be tallied into a the total Estate Distribution to Judy, John's surviving spouse, which will also be shown on the panel. The liquidated assets go first into the estate (if they part of the estate, not in trust, for example) and then are then distributed to the beneficiaries, which commonly, though not necessarily, would be the surviving spouse/partner.

We intentionally hide estate distributions and protection policy payouts (unless used in part to pay a debt, such as a mortgage) from the cash flow chart itself as they tend to skew the bars of the chart due to the size of these inflows.

That said, we do show liquidated assets (items entered on the Property/Assets screen) if they are not co-owned and are therefore liquidated upon death of the owner and distributed with the estate.

Note: If you intend a property/asset (any asset entered on the Property/Asset screen) to be passed directly to the surviving spouse/partner, please be sure to tick the spouse/partner as a co-owner of the property even if legally this isn't the case.

Also Note: There is a corner case consideration for how to handle rental property with incomes that are not co-owned. Contact us if you need information on how to model that case.

Ultimately, any funds from the estate distribution will end up in the survivor's default cash account (e.g. Mrs' Cash) unless they are used immediately to pay expense or unless you schedule their transfer into an alternative investment or savings account. Once placed into the cash account, the funds will be available as a first stop to fulfill the survivor's future expenses after other income and credits are exhausted (such as pension income, employment income).