It is not surprising that the unprecedented chain of events set in motion by the outcome of the EU referendum will have unnerved many and excited others. However, the reality is that most people will not see any immediate change to their personal circumstances. Although the financial situation remains volatile, given the time it will take to negotiate our exit from the EU we anticipate that nerves will steady in due course, helped by a supportive Bank of England.
EU regulations have had little influence on the law governing inheritance, probate, court of protection, divorce and conveyancing and so these areas will remain largely unaffected post-EU. There may be possible alterations to tax rules in the future but these are unlikely to worry most people. People who own property in Europe may be affected but this will only become clear as the negotiations start to finalise the terms of our future relationship with Europe. Pension annuity purchase rates and investment portfolios will be affected in the short term by economic uncertainty - although there are already signs that the market is beginning to settle.
Depending on interest rate movements in the medium term, clients may want to consider reorganising their finances which could impact the wording of wills and trusts. There was some talk, pre-referendum, that a vote to leave would precipitate a fall in house prices; it is far too early to say whether or not this will occur. We suspect that, in the long term, it will be the housing shortage which will determine how the property market behaves rather than Brexit.
Overall, our message to our private clients is ‘steady as she goes’. Nothing is going to change in the immediate future and although uncertainty is unhelpful and consumer confidence has taken a knock, this is not the time to react precipitously. We will be monitoring developments and will continue to report back; in the meantime, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact a member of our private client team.