Tonight Elizabeth joined us for her monthly advice slot where she talked about writing wills, the importance of checking your credit record and what to do if you receive tax letters from HMRC.
Elizabeth informed us that November is 'Write a will month' and encouraged anyone who hadn't written a will to think about doing so. It's important because there are strict rules about inheritance which may mean that money does not go to who you would like it to if you do not have a will. Many people are put off making one because they think it's quite a morbid thing or that it's expensive to do. Elizabeth says that it needn't be that expensive and you can actually download the forms and do your own but does recommend getting it checked by a solicitor. This month the charity 'Will Aid' are running a campaign where a solicitor will draw up a will for you in exchange for a donation, more information is available on their website: www.willaid.org.uk. More information about making a will can be found at www.adviceguide.org.uk.
Elizabeth discussed the increase there has been in the number of people being turned down for loans and credit cards. For some people it's not clear why they have been turned down but there could be a number of reasons including how good their credit rating is. There are three credit rating organisations who provide banks and other lenders with information about your credit record they are: equifax, experian and call credit. You can apply to see your credit record from any of these agencies online or by writing to them which will cost you £2. If you have a low credit rating or you have a limited credit history there are things you can do to build a better one such as applying for a contract mobile phone and avoiding making lots of applications for credit in quick succession.
The final issue Elizabeth discussed was tax letters which Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been issuing people saying that they are either owed an income tax rebate or owe tax to the government. Elizabeth advises anyone who is told they owe HMRC money to check the information very carefully and comparing it with their earnings. If you do find any problems than you should contact HMRC as soon as possible. If you owe less than £3,000 it is possible that you can arrange to pay this back with an adjustment to your tax code. And she advises anyone that feels they will really struggle to pay the money back that they may be able to negotiate better repayment turns under hardship rules. Anyone who is retired and has an income of less than £17,000 can get help from 'Tax Help for Older People' on 0845 601 3321.
Eizabeth will join us again on 13 December.